Questionable Amusements and Worthy Substitutes Part 6

Not a large but a choice collection of flowering plants relieved the bay window of its emptiness. This is an attractive home. The children never have cared to spend their evenings on the street nor at places of amusement. Games of skill, innocent, instructive, and entertaining, may be used to make home life more attractive. Only let the amusements of the home be under the direction of father and mother, and be practiced by them. Here is a chance to teach shrewdness, honor, interest, and by all means, moderation. To overdo at games and amusements is more harmful than to overwork.

Religion is essential to happy home life. A family may get on for a time very smoothly without prayer, Bible study, faith in God, and love for Jesus Christ; but no family life is completed without a storm, many storms of some sort. Years may pass as on a quiet sea, but one day at high noon, or, perhaps, in the silent, early hour, a small cloud is seen in the distance; it comes nearer; the wind begins to blow, the thunders peal, the lightnings flash, the old home, for so long an ark of safety, is being tossed on the billowy waves. A testing time is at hand.

Mother is gone, or father has ventured too far and lost all; or son has disgraced the family name; or daughter is in shame; or the darling of the home is no more! It makes a vast difference who is at the helm when the storms of home life rage. It is a mark of highest wisdom to place the family ship under the world's best Captain, Jesus Christ. He never lost a life. He alone can arrest the lightning, quiet the waves, inspire confidence, and restore peace and good will in any storm. But religion is not only useful in trouble, it is an ornament in peace and prosperity, in the making and building of the home. Tempers must be controlled, dispositions cultivated, conduct improved, hearts softened, and minds purified and disciplined. To accomplish all of this, no substitute can be made for the spirit and faith of Jesus Christ.

"'Dear Moss,' said the thatch on an old ruin, 'I am so worn, so patched, so ragged, really I am quite unsightly. I wish you would come and cheer me up a little. You will hide all my infirmities and defects; and, through your loving sympathy no finger of contempt or dislike will be pointed at me.' 'I come,' said the moss; and it crept up and around, and in and out, till every flaw was hidden, and all was smooth and fair.

Presently the sun shone out, and the old thatch looked bright and fair, a picture of rare beauty, in the golden rays. 'How beautiful the thatch looks!' cried one who saw it. 'How beautiful the thatch looks!' said another. 'Ah!' said the old thatch, 'rather let them say, 'How beautiful is the loving moss!'" So it is with the religion of Christ, it adorns and beautifies the life who really wears it; so that the plainness of that life is covered, its ruggedness softened, and its "pain transformed into profit and its loss into gain."

Charles M. Sheldon gives as an essential for a permanent republic, "A true home life where father, mother, and children spend much time together; where family worship is preserved; where honesty, purity, and mutual affection are developed."

J.R. Miller beautifully sums up the secret of happy home-making in one word--"'Christ.' Christ at the marriage altar; Christ on the bridal journey; Christ when the new home is set up; Christ when the baby is born; Christ when the baby dies; Christ in the pinching times; Christ in the days of plenty; Christ in the nursery, in the kitchen, in the parlor; Christ in the toil and in the rest; Christ all along the years; Christ when the wedded pair walk toward the sunset gates; Christ in the sad hour when the farewells are spoken, and one goes on before and the other stays, bearing the unshared grief. Christ is the secret of happy home life."


Just as a surly husband, a dissipated father, or a reckless son may blight a home and destroy its happiness, so may a thoughtful, virtuous, and kind man in the home change its very atmosphere and help to make it a heaven. As a home-maker man has the ruggeder part. It is his to provide. The man who falls short of this in the home does not do his part. No woman can respect a man much less love him, who places her, her work, her life, her home, her world under constant embarrassment by a scant and niggardly provision. She loses her ambition, ceases to make her self and her home attractive; disorder, filth, unwholesome food, lack of spirit on her part is the result. She can not be to him, most of all, what he expects her to be, a companion, a counselor, a comfort--a home-maker. Also, it is the part of the man in the home to shield the woman from the heavier burdens and responsibilities. Let him count the cost of his enterprises, secure himself against hazardous speculations, and give his wife and children to realize that his shoulders, and not theirs, are to bear the load of financial obligation and material support. This leaves the woman with her finer instincts and sensibilities to make the home the dearest spot on earth to husband, children, and to all who cross her threshold. The house is her dominion.

There she is queen. What a tender and beautiful one she may become!


The true home-maker does not spend all of her time with her ducks, chickens, pigs, and cows, nor yet with her neighbors, her club, nor her Church. She finds some time to cultivate her intellectual nature and the finer feelings of her children. She does not degenerate into a mere household drudge. She is not the slave of her husband, but his companion. If she has musical ability, she keeps up the practice of her music; if she is inclined to literature, she reads some every day.

Whether literary or not, every woman should spend some time each day in reading that she might keep abreast with the world, at least with her companion, in the movements and thoughts of every-day life. The true home-maker plans to have a few minutes each day which she calls her own, in which she may do as she pleases regardless of call or duty, that she might relax herself, remove the strain of intense effort, rest, give her nature its free bent and inclination. It will pay her in every way. She will accomplish more and better work in the busy hours. A spirit and a force will characterize every effort. The women of to-day are overworked. They can not do themselves, their families, not their homes the true spiritual service that it is their part to do. Plan for a few minutes rest with the daily routine of care. But how is one to do this with so many demands made upon her? For she is expected to be seamstress, laundress, maid, cook, hostess, a companion to her husband, a trainer of her children, a social being, and a helper in the Church.

If it is impossible or impracticable for one to have a servant, she will find these few minutes for daily recreation and study only in a wise choice of more important duties, and will allow the less important ones to go undone. Many housewives could well afford to keep a helper. It becomes a question which is of greater importance, the life and health of the wife and mother, or the paltry wages of a servant? We knew a family in Illinois who were quite able to keep help in the home, but did not do so. The mother made a slave of herself, in a few years broke in health, and left a large family of small children to struggle alone in the world. The stepmother, who soon came into the home, could afford one servant girl and part of the time two. This is a common experience in ill-managed homes. Or this question arises, Which is of greater importance, to make more money or to improve the moral tone of the home; to seek to gratify the outer senses, or to seek to elevate the spiritual life of the children and the parents? In pleading for rest and study for the mother in the home we plead for the highest interests of the entire family. For how can a wife be a companion to a husband when she is made irritable and nervous from overwork and worry. How can she be a true mother to her children and neglect their mental and spiritual growth?

Napoleon once said: "What France wants is good mothers, and you may be sure then that France will have good sons." Thomas McCrie, an eminent Scotch preacher, used to tell, with great feeling, of how his mother, when he was starting out for school in the city, accompanied him along the road a little way, and then leading him into the field where she could be alone, prayed with him, that he might be kept from sin in the city, and become a very useful man. That moment was the turning point in his life. A few minutes a day spent with the eager, susceptible child mind, will bring everlasting blessing upon the father and mother.

Chapter end

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