I came across a jewel of a book in my library while cleaning today. It is an old home economics textbook for public school girls. Skimming through it just made me very sad.
Here are just a few quotes which really struck me:
If your father and mother in their living together express mutual affection, generous loyalty, and loving consideration, you may learn more of the meaning of love than you can get from volumes of silly love stories. [You mean, like Twilight?]
Under the heading "What are the father's responsibilities to his family?" it has these sweet gems:
The father is the head of the house. ['Nuff said.]
Fathers often help with the work of the home. This is more frequently one of father's responsibilities now than it was a couple of generations ago. Then there were maiden [unmarried] aunts, older sisters, and often employees to carry part of the home duties. Today relatives less frequently share in the home [That's because by the time this volume was written, THEY HAD ALL LEFT THE HOME AND WENT TO WORK!] and fewer families have employees. When the working day has been shortened to seven or eight hours the father has more free time for helping than he did long ago. . . If there is a lawn, its care is usually his.
And every father by voting, by sharing in the church, and by neighborliness helps make his town better for his family.
And, next, "What are the mother's responsibilities to her family?":
We tend to group the mother's responsibilities under several large main topics. These were given by one girl as 'taking care of the house; taking care of the family; planning and preparing the meals; answering the door and the telephone; feeding the bird and the dog; seeing that we are all doing what we are supposed to do, that we are having a happy time, and that she looks pretty and sweet.' [Sounds good to me.]
What must a mother know to carry her responsibilities well? She must know that food s you should have; how to provide them on the money she has for food; how the food can be prepared so as to be interesting and attractive; what can be done with the leftovers so that no food will be wasted; how to care for all the utensils, dishes, silver, and linen used in preparing and serving the food; how to plan her time so that she can get everything done; what provisions should be made for your growth from a baby to an adult; how to select and care for all the furnishings of the home; and how to keep all the family members happy.
Knowing all this, she then has the difficult task of doing much of this herself and getting the family members to work together to do the rest. [Somewhere we lost the last part of this concept.]
In addition, many mothers have, in the past few years [written in 1945], shared in the wage earning for the family. Then, often, after the work in office, store, or plant is done, the mother tries to carry as much as she can of the usual homemaking responsibilities. [Unfortunately, no different 65 years later!] In such case, if mother is not to be sadly overworked, the family members must help to lighten her load of home duties.
And, what about the kids? "What are the children's responsibilities in the family?":
Both the toddler and the schoolgirl can help by lessening the amount of work to be done. If the toddler has learned to pick up his toys and put them on the cupboard shelf or back in the toy box, he is sharing in the responsibility of lessening the work of keeping the house in order. If the schoolgirl picks up her clothes...and...cleans up the bathroom after using it, she is carrying her responsibility of helping keep the house in order.
As the children grow from toddlers to school age and then to adults, they have increasing responsibilities for the work of the home. [What ever happened to this training in the home?!?]
Sometimes situations arise that make it necessary for the children to carry extra responsibilities in their family life. A mother's illness may throw the care of young children on the oldest daughter; a father's death may put the burden of family support on the high school son. [Amen!] ...The sense of a great need in the family has brought to some children an acceptance of responsibility and an heroic willingness for continued unselfish effort.
The children have an obligation to help not only by work but by attitudes and thoughts, so that the family will be 'a going concern.' There are certain customs, traditions, and ideals that are important to the family. The children have the responsibility of being loyal to these. Being members of the family, they have no right to act without considering the other members. They must understand and respect the desires, needs, and right of the other family members. [...until they go to college and learn from their godless professors that they have no responsibility to their families at all and that their families have no right to expect anything from them.]
Last but not least, the children have the responsibility of becoming worthy persons...The family wants the best for its children and is eager that each accept his responsibility to become a fine individual. [Amen!]
Another good quote:
A woman may be a brilliant teacher, a fine secretary, or a well-known clubwoman, and still fail to be a good mother. In case of failure as a family member, the meaning of much of the other success one may have in life is lost. The person still misses happiness in daily living.
And this is one reason why American families -- and women in particular -- are in such a miserable mess today. It just goes to show how our society has robbed the family of its glory: the father of his dignity, the mother of her inestimable worth, the son of his strength, and the daughter of her very womanhood; each has been deposed from his or her own unique place in the home.
Though this was meant to be a secular textbook, these are all biblical principles. Let us pray for our families that God would once again raise up fathers, mothers, and children who will put one another first in love and each take his or her own responsibility in the home, thus glorifying Him in it.