The giving of knowledge and instruction in sex hygiene at the proper time is also a peculiar duty of parents which they must not shirk.
The chief moral virtues are also the result of home training. An obedient, honest, truthful disposition is characteristic of a good home; a sly, deceitful, quarrelsome nature is the outcome of improper home influence, Moreover, the first lessons in respect for law, order and justice are implanted by the home; improper training in these virtues leads to disorder and license.
The home, too, must teach the first lessons in industry and impress the child with the fact that life is made up of work as well as play. Too often the mother, especially, makes a slave of herself for the children, waits on them night and day, allows them to sleep late in the morning, stay up late at night and keep up an incessant round of pleasure while she herself stays at home and shoulders the entire responsibility of the household. How much happier the home where each child is trained to do some particular share of work and to take some responsibility upon himself.
The boy should be permitted to help the father whenever possible. He should be required to do things promptly and regularly and to learn through actual experience the amount of toil and sweat required to earn an honest dollar.
A taste for music and reading must be fostered in the home. Every family should have some kind of musical instrument and at least a few choice books for children. The influence of music and good literature on the tastes and ideals of the future man and woman is so great that it can scarcely be over-estimated. The use of correct and fluent language is largely a product of the home. Children imitate the speech heard at home; if this is incorrect, meagre, or coarse, the child is apt to have the same imperfection follow him through life.
The family constitutes a most sacred and important social unit, and because of its intrinsic nature, it can best develop in the child the highest personal sentiment and social virtue. Among these are affection, sympathy, love, generosity and good will. If these are not awakened and nurtured by the home, then there is little hope that they will be acquired elsewhere, and the child will likely grow into a stony-hearted, selfish pessimist.
Certain religious habits and sentiments also can be impressed naturally and well only by the family. Among these are trust in God, the beginning of faith, regard for ceremony, love of Bible stories, respect for authority, and above all, prayer. The individual who has not been taught at his mother’s knee to pray is likely never to develop into a prayerful man or woman.
The home is the child’s earliest school, his first temple of worship, his first social center. It is the place where everything in this life begins. Most fortunate is the child that is guided to take his first steps aright through the loving influence of a good home.