“That’s right,” said J.W. “I was talking to Mr. Drury this morning, and I asked him what he would think of our starting a suggestion list. He said it ought to be a fine thing. But he wants us to do it all ourselves. Just the same, we can take our suggestions to him, and then, if he believes in them, he can talk to the other preachers about them, and, of course, about any ideas of his own. Because you know, I’m pretty sure he has been thinking about all this a good deal longer than we have.”
It was agreed that the list should be started. Marcia was not willing to keep it to themselves; she wanted to have it talked about in League and Sunday school and prayer meeting, and then, when everybody had been given the chance to add to it, and to improve on it—but not to weaken it—that it be put out for general discussion among all the churches.
“And then,” said Joe Carbrook, “we might call it ’The Everyday Doctrines of Delafield,’ If we stick to the things every citizen will admit he ought to believe and do, the churches will still have all the chance they have now to preach those things which must be left to the individual conscience.”
That was the beginning of a document with which Delafield was to become very familiar in the months which followed; never before had the town been so generally interested in one set of ideas, and to this day you can always start a conversation there by mentioning the “Everyday Doctrines of Delafield,” The Methodist preacher gave them their final form, but he took no credit for the substance of them, though, secretly, he was vastly proud that the young people, and especially J.W., should have so thoroughly followed up his first suggestion of a civic creed.
1. Every part of Delafield is as much Delafield as any other part We are citizens of a commonwealth, and Delafield should be in fact as well as name a democratic community.
2. Whenever two Delafield citizens can better do something for the town than one could do it, they should get together. And the same holds good for twenty citizens, or a hundred, or a thousand. One of the town’s mottoes should be, “Delafield Is Not Divided.”
3. Everything will help Delafield if it means better people, in better homes, with better chances at giving their children the right bringing-up, but anything which merely means more people, or more money, or more business is likely to cost more than it comes to. We will boost for Delafield therefore, but we will first be careful.
4. Every part of Delafield is entitled to clean streets and plenty of air, water, and sunlight. It is perhaps possible to be a Christian amid ugliness and filth, but it is not easy, and it is not necessary.
5. Every family in Delafield has the right to a place that can be made into a home, at a cost that will permit of family self-respect, proper privacy, and the ordinary decencies of civilized living. Every case of poverty in Delafield should be considered as a reflection on the town, as being preventable and curable by remedies which any town that is careful of its good name can apply.