Another very large class of misfits, and, perhaps, even more to be pitied than any other, is composed of the women who are compelled to earn a living in the business world, in the professional world, or elsewhere, whose true place is in the home. Many of these are unmarried, either because the right man has not presented himself, or because there are not enough really desirable men in the community to go around. Others are widows. Still others are women who have been deserted by their mates. Some of them are compelled to support their parents, brothers, and sisters, or even their husbands.
If traditional methods and courses of education miss the needs of many of our young men, what shall we say of conventional education for girls? Well, to tell the truth, we do not know what to say. Educational experts, reformers, philosophers, investigators, and editors have spoken and written volumes on the subject. Women upon whom the different kinds of educational formulae have been tried have also written about it. Some of them have told tragic stories. There has been, and is, much controversy. Some say one thing—some another—but what shall common sense say? After all, education is rather a simple problem—in its essentials. It means development—development of inborn talents. And education ought especially to develop the natural aptitude of most of our girls for efficiency in home-making and child-rearing. Most young women enter upon the vocation of wifehood and motherhood practically without any training for these duties.
It is as unscientific to expect all women to be successful wives and mothers as it would be to expect all men to be successful farmers. It is as tragic to expect an untrained girl to be a successful wife and mother as it would be to expect an untrained boy to be a successful physician and surgeon.
A very broad division of misfits is into those who are fitted to do detail work, trying to do executive work, and those who are natural-born executives compelled to do detail work. This is a very common cause of unfitness.
Some men love detail and can do it well. They naturally see the little things. Their minds are readily occupied with accuracy in what seem to others to be trifles, but which, taken together, make perfection. They are careful; they are dependable; they can be relied upon. Such people, however, do not have a ready grasp for large affairs. They cannot see things in their broader aspect. They are not qualified by nature to outline plans in general for other people to work out in detail. They are the men upon whom the world must depend for the careful working out of the little things so essential if the larger plans are to go through successfully.
On the other hand, there are some people who have no patience with details. They do not like them. They cannot attend to them. If depended upon for exactitude and accuracy, they are broken reeds. They forget detail.