Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/296

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of the home and the different phases of what Baldwin calls "the dialectic of personal growth" which occurs in the socialization of each of her children. "While she is increasing her own stock of information in this way she will find that she is becoming a much more interesting companion for her children and is able to show them their real place and share in the world's work. In this way she can exert a much wider influence over them than by merely providing for their physical wants.

We are accustomed to say that the human necessities are food, clothing and shelter. We might better say that the human necessities are food, clothing, shelter and thoughts, for the mind needs food as well as the body. A growing child can get along without clothes and shelter if the climate is not too severe, but he must have physical food and mental food or else fail in human evolution. The mother makes a dire mistake if she ministers to the physical needs alone, and neglects the mental, moral and social personality of her child. While walking along the path of her own home industry, she will find that she can interest her children in world-wide problems, for children can become interested in almost any subject.

For instance, the boys I know best became very much interested in primitive culture, primitive man and his investigations growing out of their interest in the domestic use of fire. They read with delight "The Story of Ab" and parts of Jack London's "Before Adam." They constantly asked for anything new on these subjects. One day their mother heard some one say that when a man is drowned he is always found with his arms up over his head and that this posture is probably a survival of his tree-dwelling days. A few days afterward, the twelve-year-old boy came into the house much the worse for wear, muddy, torn and bruised, but with face radiant. To his mother's query concerning the cause of his condition he exclaimed, "I fell through a manger in an old barn, I suppose I am hurt. I don't know. I didn't have time to think, for when I came down I found my arms were up over my head and I am sure my ancestors must have been tree men."

That mother by following along the path of her own duty had succeeded unconsciously in teaching her boy the power of mind over matter or the uplifting power of an idea and of awakening in him an interest in historical and sociological study.

Lessons in wider social service and morality can be taught just from the necessity of the housemother's preparing food, for children can early be taught to share good things with others less fortunate and they can cultivate the spirit of hospitality.

However, it is quite difficult much of the time for the mother in the home to cultivate a wide feeling of brotherhood in her children, just because the mad scramble toward self preservation which the household