Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/300

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

easy things, drift from not knowing how to assume responsibility in the home to avoiding it altogether by means of the divorce court.

There are no statistics to prove the statement, yet careful observation in a good many cases has shown that a cheerful common sense and ability to turn defeat into victory through perseverance would have kept many homes intact to-day.

And so, our educational system seems wrong when it permits our boys and girls to grow up looking only for easy places. Too many girls look forward to matrimony as a life of surcease from the disagreeable surroundings before marriage.

In consequence when the water pipes burst and the furnace grate falls out and the refrigerator springs a leak and the baby is teething and fretful and the meals must be prepared and the husband, owing to a belated breakfast, has not had time to be as affectionate as usual in his farewells as he ran for his car—when such a combination as this happens, as we housekeepers all know it can do—unless we are trained to listen for the eternal harmonies behind some of the discords of life, we are apt to grow discontented in home life because of our own inability to make a success of it and to bring to ourselves "cumulative happiness."

However, if we do have a sufficiently high ideal of our mission as homemakers and the spirit and necessary training to inform our task, we can set to work on our domestic problem with a cheerful courage, for we know that ice can be thawed and leaks mended, furnace grates repaired, cross, fretful babies can become the joy and light of a whole household, and belated husbands if only given a chance can more than atone for their seeming indifference.

The explanations just given are presented in order to make the point that an intelligent appreciation on the part of our girls of the responsibilities of home life and skilled knowledge on their part of how to perform their tasks will do much to prevent discontent in the home and desertion from it when unpleasant combinations really arise.

The natural conclusion from this fact is that our educational system should provide some way of showing every girl that she must expect serious conditions in dealing with the serious problems of life and that she must have some training for her fundamental task of developing vital personality with its resultant mental, moral and social responsibilities. Otherwise our whole industrial system must change so that domestic industries can become socialized and women do their share, specializing for home work according to inclination. But in either case for human evolution we must have trained guardians of the personality, whether they be natural mothers or selected ones.

This is not an easy program which is outlined for womankind, but it can be made a very efficient one in race development. The quickest