Training for homemaking, then, must go hand in hand with training for some phase of industrial life. Vocational guides must consider not only inclination and temperament, but physical condition and the supply and demand of the industrial world. They will consider the girl not merely as an industrial worker, but as a potential homemaker. They will, therefore, also study the effect of various vocations upon homemaking capabilities.
How then shall the teaching of this double vocation be approached? How shall we, as teachers of girls, make them capable of becoming homemakers? How shall we make them see that homemaking and the world’s work may go hand in hand, so that they will desire in time to turn from their industrial service to the later and better destiny of making a home? This book offers its contribution toward answering these questions.
[Footnote 1: Ida M. Tarbell, The Business of Being a Woman.]
[Footnote 2: Lester F. Ward, Pure Sociology.]
THE IDEAL HOME
That we may understand, and to some extent formulate, the problem which we would have girls trained to solve, we must of necessity study homes. What must girls know in order to be successful homemakers?
A historical survey of the home leads us to the conclusion that although times have changed, and homes have changed, and indeed all outward conditions have changed, the spiritual ideal of home is no different from what it has always been. The home is the seat of family life. Its one object is the making of healthy, wise, happy, satisfied, useful, and efficient people. The home is essentially a spiritual factory, whether or not it is to remain to any degree whatever a material one. “Home will become an atmosphere, a ‘condition in which,’ rather than ‘a place where,’” says Nearing in his Woman and Social Progress. “The home is a factory to make citizenship in,” writes Mrs. Bruere.
But although this spiritual significance of home has always existed, we are sometimes inclined to overlook the fact. Because conditions have changed, and because our external ideals of home have changed and are still changing, we fail to see that the foundation of home life is still unchanged.
“I sometimes think that many women don’t consciously know why they are running their homes,” says Mrs. Frederick, author of The New Housekeeping. We might add that many of those who do know, or think they know, are struggling to attain to purely trivial or fundamentally wrong ideals. It seems wise, then, for us to face at the outset the question “What is the ideal home?”
[Illustration: Copyright by Keystone View Co. An attractive living room in which there is that atmosphere of peace so conducive to a happy family life]