It is quite probable that, while the school undertakes to lay a general foundation for homemaking efficiency, the home, when it reaches the full measure of its power and responsibility, will be best fitted to help the girl to specialize in the direction most suited to her individual power. It can, if it will, give the girl individual opportunities such as the mere fact of numbers forbids the school to give.
The special work of the church in training the girl is necessarily that which has to do with her spiritual concept of life, the strengthening of her moral fiber. Here school, home, and church must each contribute its share. None of them can undertake alone so important and delicate a task. Any attempt to make arbitrary divisions in the work of these three agencies is bound to be at least a partial failure. Conditions differ so widely that we can only say of much of the work, “at school or church or in the home,” or, better, “at school and church and home in cooeperation.” Each must supplement the efforts of the other, and where one fails, the other must take up the task. It really matters little where the work is done, provided that it is done. The ensuing chapters of this book are written in the hope that they may bring the vital problems of girl training and girl guidance home to both teacher and parent; and especially that they may convince both of the value of cooeperation in the inspiring work of helping our daughters to make the most of their lives.
[Footnote 4: Ida M. Tarbell, The Business of Being a Woman.]
TRAINING THE LITTLE CHILD
“Children are the home’s highest product.” That means at the outset that we have children because we believe in them, and that we train them, as the skilled workman shapes his wood and clay, to achieve the greatest result of which the human material is capable.
A factory’s output can be standardized. An engine’s power can be measured. But he who trains a child can never fully know the mind he works with nor the result he attains. We do know, however, that if it is subject to certain influences, trained by certain laws, the chances are that this mind which we cannot fully know will react in a certain way.
To attempt in a chapter to outline a system of training for children would be an attempt doomed to certain failure. Books are written on this subject, and the shelves of the child-study and child-training department in the libraries are rapidly filling. What I have in mind here is rather a single line of the child’s development—that which leads toward making him a useful factor in the home life of which he forms a part. The boy or girl who fills successfully a place in the home of his childhood will be in a fair way to undertake successfully the greater task of founding a home of his own.