Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/409

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Still more important a change would it be were marriage, to women, only the entrance into a wider and happier social state, and need never be regarded as the only recognized business opening.

2. It would bring more varied ability to the service of domestic life. Despite the many kinds of work which have been gradually taken

out of the housekeeper's hands, her position still calls for a variety of faculties rarely combined in one woman; and household life is in most families correspondingly imperfect. The business ability that makes a good housekeeper, in the sense of a good provider for material needs, of a capacity to use money to advantage, and to secure order and perfection of work, is one thing. To be a good educator, to possess the faculty of understanding and training children, is another. Neither of these qualifications is necessarily connected with the gifts and tastes which are required to make the home a social center, to bring its inmates into the friendly and easy relations to other families upon which its social standing depends, and which, under the present state of things, are so essential to the welfare of its young people as they approach the age for marriage. The mother of a family, whether rich or poor, must be a sort of "Jack of all trades," and often goes through life with the discouraging sense that, in one or other of these important departments, her good intentions will never supply the lack of natural faculty. The less complicated and extensive the work that necessarily devolves upon a woman in her household, the more chance for its successful accomplishment. The more she can call upon skillful help, the less likely the family will be to suffer from her deficiency in any direction.

There is nothing which would seem more absolutely dependent upon the mother than the care and training of very young children. Yet the careful study of the best modes of training these early years, which has come in with the Kindergarten, shows how far the nursery alone is from meeting their needs; how early and how much skilled teachers, other children, a variety of apparatus, that is, outside help, are desirable for the best interests of the child, as well as for the assistance of the mother.

3. Another great advantage that would come from a general recognition that the occupation of women in non-domestic work tends inevitably to increase, would be the impulse it would give to the industrial training of girls. Parents do not think it worth while to educate their daughters for any pursuit, because they consider industrial occupation for a girl an undesirable exception, not to be provided for. An immense amount of misery would be avoided did custom require that every girl should be taught some paying work. It should be considered more obligatory in the case of girls than of boys, thus to guarantee them the possibility of independence, both because they are less able to make opportunities for themselves when unexpectedly called upon to do so, and because of the greater dangers to which helpless-