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Annie Payson Call (author)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 164 pages of information about Nerves and Common Sense.
so that our own dust is laid, that very habit of life keeps us clear from the dust of other people.  Not only that, but when we are free from dust ourselves, the dust that the other men are stirring up about us does not interfere with our view of them.  We see the men through their dust and we see how the dust with which they are surrounding themselves befogs them and impedes their progress.  From the place of no dust you can distinguish dust and see through it.  From the place of dust you cannot distinguish anything clearly.  Therefore, if one wishes to learn the standards of living according to plain common sense, for body, mind, and spirit, and to apply the principles of such standards practically to their every-day life, the first absolute necessity is to get quiet and to stay quiet long enough to lay the dust.

You may know the laws of right eating, of right breathing, of exercise, and rest—­but in this dust of excitement in daily life such knowledge helps one very little.  You constantly forget, and forget, and forget.  Or, if in a moment of forced acknowledgment to the need of better living, you make up your mind that you will live according to sensible laws of hygiene, you go along pretty well for a few weeks, perhaps even months, and then as you feel better physically, you get whirled off into the excitement again, and before you know it you are in the dust with the rest of the world, and all because you had no background for your good resolutions.  You never had found and you did not understand quiet.

Did you ever see a wise mother come into a noisy nursery where perhaps her own children were playing excitedly with several little companions, who had been invited in to spend a rainy afternoon?  The mother sees all the children in a great state of excitement over their play, and two or three of them disagreeing over some foolish little matter, with their brains in such a state that the nursery is thick with infantile human dust.  What does the wise mother do?  Add dust of her own by scolding and fretting and fuming over the noise that the children are making?  No—­no indeed.  She first gets all the children’s attention in any happy way she can, one or two at a time, and then when she has their individual attention to a small degree, she gets their united attention by inviting their interest in being so quiet that they “can hear a pin drop.”  The children get keenly interested in listening.  The first time they do not hear the pin drop because Johnnie or Mollie moved a little.  Mother talks with interest of what a very delightful thing it is to be for a little while so quiet that we can hear a pin drop.  The second time something interferes, and the third time the children have become so well focused on listening that the little delicate sound is heard distinctly, and they beg mother to try and see if they cannot hear it again.  By this time the dust is laid in the nursery, and by changing the games a little, or telling them a story first, the mother is able to leave a nursery full of quiet, happy children.

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