Sunday, December 3, 2006

The Complete Home

My first post comes from the preface of Mrs. Julia McNair Wright's book, "The Complete Home", published in 1879. There is much wisdom and food for thought in this one page alone.

Between the Home set up in Eden, and the Home before us in Eternity, stand the homes of Earth in a long succession. It is therefore important that our Homes should be brought up to a standard in harmony with their origin and destiny. Here are "Empire's primal Springs;" here are the Church and State in embryo; here all improvements and reforms must rise. For national and social disasters, for moral and financial evils, the cure begins in the Household. In no case could legislation and commerce lead back a day of honesty and plenty, unless the Family were their active co-worker. Where souls and bodies are nourished, where fortunes are builded, and brains are trained, there must be a focus on all moral and physical interests.

Is it true that marriages and American-born children are lessening? Does the Family fail in fulfilling its Divine intention? Why should young men fear to marry, and by undue caution deprive themselves of the joys and safeguards of domestic life? Why should young women, having but little instruction in the duties, dangers and possibilities of the married state, wed in haste, and make the future a long regret? Why, when the final step is taken, should the young pair not know all that it is needful to know to secure their Home in its integrity, that it may be happy, orderly and beautiful, that they may know how to preserve health, train children, make, save, and spend money? . . .Every day has its full share of troubles, but, by troubles well met, we grow stronger. We rise- "By stepping stones Of our dead selves, to higher things."

How then shall the Home fulfill the great duty lying before it-the day of restoring confidence and energy, of eradicating evils, of bringing much out of little, and affording to every Family in the land an assumed competence? The answer to these questions, the indication of the means of reaching an end so grand, will take hold on Moral Principles and their practical out-working. . . .

There is no thought more beautiful and far-reaching than this of the solidarity or oneness of the Family; here, man is indissolubly bound to his fellows. The individual is solitary, but God setteth the solitary in families. The stream of time is crowded with the ships of Households, parents and children, youth and infancy, age with its memories, childhood with its fancies, youth with its loves, maturity with its cares. A beautiful picture represents such a life-scene. The Household bound for the same eternity, trying the same fates.

"In childhood's hour, with careless joy
Upon the stream we glide,
With Youth's bright hopes, we gayly speed,
To reach the other side.

" Manhood looks forth with careful eye,
Time steady plies the oar;
Wit Old Age calmly waits to hear
The keel upon the shore."

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