This was originally posted to commemorate the birth of baby Alexandra, my niece, daughter of my stepsister Deb and her husband Lenn. Here are some thoughts on raising children.
1880: Facts for Parents
Paternity is earth’s highest dignity. The parent is the best human type of God. Paternal authority is the germ out of which are unfolded all governments and all religions. It combines law, authority, power, wisdom, providence, punishments, pardons, remedial agencies, mercy, love, sacrifice, instruction, leadership and companionship. It epitomizes nature, providence and grace.
Children are boons. They impart dignity to life and furnish a motive for work. They gather up the withering and fading plans for self, and cast them out into the future, renewed in vigor and hope. They cement they family in unity.
Children give new life to a home. They warm the house. They dispel the gloom. They constrain age to renewed youth. They transform a hall into a home.
Parents put their image and superscription upon their children. They beget them in their own image, and train them into their own faith and destiny. Selecting for them their toys, their playmates, their books and their churches, they are responsible for their moral character and social life.
Construct your home for your children. Home may be made the most attractive place on earth. Many lose their children as soon as they can escape. There is a mistake somewhere. If the house is glum and stiff, the children required to keep still while the parents read or doze ~ if the house is only a feeding and clothing place, or a workshop, it has none of the charms of home, and will be early empty. But the home should be more than a house. Fill it with good cheer, youthful hope, with instruction and entertainment and affection; then it will be a perpetual benediction. Your highest duty is your children. Make home so winsome to them that they will not go away from your eye for their pleasures. Be yourself a necessary and welcome part of their work and of their study and of their sports. It is not a service of bondage, but a reign of love in the midst of the growing sons and daughters, that you are to maintain.
Remember that children do grow old. We can hardly believe that they can be trusted as we were when we were of their age. We remember them as our little ones.
Recall, as distinctly as possible, your own youth. Profit by your own experience, and let your children also profit by it.
Source: Fowler, C. H. and W. H. De Puy. Home and Health and Home Economics. New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1880.
~ pp. 23-24 ~