If you are impatient with a program which presupposes that practically all women will be homemakers and mothers, either trained or otherwise, let me remind you that the majority of women do marry, that most of these and many of the unmarried do become homemakers, and that it will be far safer for society to train the few—less than 10 per cent—who never enter the career than to pursue the economically wasteful plan of assuming educationally that no women will be homemakers, or that if they are they can successfully undertake the most complicated, difficult, and most important profession open to women with no preparation at all, or with only what they have unconsciously absorbed at home in the brief pauses of the education which did not educate them for life.
The education for homemaking will never lose sight of the fact that girls must really be prepared for a double vocation, since it is a question whether or not they will become homemakers, and they must at all events be prepared for the years intervening between school and home. On the contrary, the education which prepares the homemaker will exercise special care in training for those intervening years, or for life work if it should prove to be such. Of all distinctly vocational training, it is only fair, however, that the homemaking training should come first, as a foundation for all later work. Whether the girl thus trained ever presides over a home of her own or not, the training will have made her a broader woman and a better worker, with a finer understanding of the universal business of her sex.
[Footnote 6: Oppenheim.]
THE GIRL’S INNER LIFE
While we are occupied in teaching the girl the “ways and means” by which she is later to carry on the business of homemaking, we must not overlook the fact that, although ways and means are vitally necessary, it is after all the spirit of the girl which will supply the motive power to make the home machinery run. With this in view we must so plan the girl’s training as to secure not only the concrete knowledge of doing things, but also the more abstract qualities which will equip her for her work.
False ideals and ignorance of housekeeping processes are responsible for thousands of homekeeping failures; but lack of fairness, of good temper, patience, humor, courage, courtesy, stability, perseverance, and initiative must be held accountable for thousands more. For these qualities, then, the girl must be definitely and painstakingly trained. In other words, we must work for the highest type of woman, spiritually as well as industrially.