Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/561

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THE PRIMARY SOCIAL SETTLEMENT.

4. Fewer marriages and more false marriages, with the ever-ready divorce escape.
5. The great and increasing opening in the economic world to female labor.
6. The unparalleled multiplication and popularity of clubs.
7. The willingness of outside institutions to assume functions of the family, and the readiness of the family to transfer them.

Remedies lie in Causes.—In the perplexing mizmaze of the modern residence, in the undue attention to the multiplex mysteries of the modern wardrobe, in the multiform engagements of the modern individual, the family is losing its identity. When some Ariadne puts into its hand the silver cord of simplicity, the family, if it holds on to the cord, will be helped back to its rightful place. Simplicity can not be adorned. It is a grace of itself, whether in a house, a face, or a gown. Simplicity will never entangle the family, so that one by one the individuals will want to extricate themselves and run away. If it is not desirable to return to white houses with right angles and green blinds, to the big kitchen with its big fireplace and crane—a kitchen where the family gathered for ciphering, and knitting, and apple-paring, and reading aloud, and "fox and geese," and blindman's buff, without a thought of "the carpet"—it is desirable that we make some kind of a rallying center where the family will feel free, comfortable, and communicative. Even the center table is being banished in some homes, and the easy settee and high-backed lounge have been superseded by a luxurious-looking couch, piled high with pillows, some of them pretty to look at, but often too dainty for use. Things merely "to look at" should be confined largely to walls, mantels, pedestals, and portfolios.

A partial reintegration of the family will take place when the house father stands for authority, judgment, and righteousness as much as the house mother for patience, tact, and love. In the animal world, with the exception of the birds, the fathers are nearly all family backsliders. In the human family, business and business worries have been excuses long enough for a man to leave family management entirely to his wife. Adam and Eve together were to have dominion over everything. No man has a choice of the family he is born into, but he is responsible for his own family, which he should never have established unless he chose to be the head of it, or one of its heads, and wisely co-operative in its development. No true father need to be "forced" into false family living. When he permits himself to be so forced he is a backslider.

Individual liberty along most lines means advance and advantage; but such liberty without becoming restraint, especially among mere boys and girls in the family, results in rebellion at home and