Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/614

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attained solely through the remedy here offered i. e., the extension and proper teaching of the manual arts. The problem is much too vast to admit of any such simple solution. It must be attacked from a hundred angles. The resources of science, education, politics, religion and art will have to be marshaled to this purpose as they have not yet been. There must be persistent and intelligent effort directed at every opening. No one measure nor any set of measures will suffice, and therefore in presenting the claims of the manual arts for recognition in this work let it be understood that no specific, or panacea, is advocated.

Let us consider, however, the contribution which domestic science is capable of making toward this end, and for our purpose let us conceive of domestic science in the broadest possible sense, including all the internal factors that go to mold the home: household economics, the science and art of preparing food, the hygienic oversight of the domestic appointments, the elements of personal hygiene, and most central of all, the care and instruction of young children. Where else can we find an array of subjects promising so much for the well-being of humanity? The problem of national vitality is a politico-social, economic-industrial and medico-educational problem, but it is first and last a problem of the home. Tuberculosis is a disease of the home rather than of the factory or shop, and can not be eliminated short of a material regeneration of household conditions. Typhoid fever will linger after the purification of all water supplies unless the hygiene of the poorer homes is vastly improved. A quarter million of our babies will continue to die every year regardless of progress in the affairs of government, industry and science, unless prospective parents are liberally educated in this most sacred and most difficult of all human duties.

During all the years of plasticity before the child can be reached directly by society through legal or educational measures it is wholly at the mercy of the home. Perfect nutrition, for example, is the foundation stone of happiness and morality as well as our chief defense against disease; and nutrition is an affair of the home. Malnutrition through the period of childhood permits no complete recovery. Efficiency is more dependent upon food and the hygiene of the digestive tract than upon any other one factor. The child that is permitted to bolt its food at the domestic table is not very likely to profit greatly from school instruction in the virtues of mastication. Not less than five to ten per cent, of all school children suffer from imperfect nutrition. They are the ones who develop most readily into nervous wrecks or fall victims of contagious diseases. The hygiene of the mouth alone is considered by Dr. Osier as important from the standpoint of health as the alcohol question. Many of the most important contagious diseases are ingested through this source. Most mouths will continue to be unspeakably dirty until practises of oral hygiene are made habitual