Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/297

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duties of to-day entail upon her, if she has no outside help, is apt to develop in the whole family an unwholesome egoism.

A small minority of the women of the country have house servants. This fact means then that the majority of the women, if they do their housework well in all its departments, must have a proper idea of values in order to enable them to do the essentials and leave the non-essentials. However, in order to be an ideal housewife and mother in her work of developing the personality of her family, each woman will need all the aid which education and training can give her as well as a still farther combination of some home industries in order to enable her to have time for the real essentials of abundant life.

Enough has been said to indicate how a woman in following out the profession for which mankind has specialized her in the home can develop her personality in its various lines and that of her children at the same time, if she has wisdom and training. Upon what high ideals she is weaving into their lives depends the steady advancement of the human race.

The supreme moments of the homemaker's life are those when she realizes that her family turn to her for counsel in the deeper questions of life as well as for the fundamental physical needs of food, clothing and shelter.

Not long ago several hundred club women in one of the eastern states were asked to reply to this question, "Who is the greatest woman in history?" Numerous replies were received and a great many women known to history were named. The prize was given to this answer: "The wife of a man of moderate means who does her own cooking, washing and ironing, brings up a large family of boys and girls to be useful members of society, and finds time for her own intellectual and moral improvement—she is the greatest woman in history."

Alarmists tell us sometimes that the home is disintegrating, that with the invasion of some women into industry and the indifference of others in regard to their home responsibilities, the death knell of the home is sounded. However, as long as the home can contribute anything to the development of personality and race progress, it will remain. With advancing education and civilization, no doubt, several of the functions which we now consider necessary will pass from the home, but our homes as the sanctuary of family life are not in danger of disintegration. While there are father-love and mother-love and dependent childhood there will be homes where the physical, the mental, the moral and the social personality can be developed.

If any one thinks the home can go and institutions can take the place of home life with its many activities in the development of personality, let him read this statement, which is typical of many other authorities on the subject from Mr. E. E. Reeder, for many years superintendent of the New York Orphan Asylum.