Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/748

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unfavorable to a home atmosphere and home employments. The modest requirement of a small, plain house with light and air on all sides, is beyond the reach of the millionaire. Unless we stop to think, we are apt to forget how high a price we pay for the privilege of much laborious striving and cramped living.

So much has been said about the frivolity, incompetence, or f ussiness of American mothers that it will not be amiss to inquire into the characteristics of our fathers of families. With the best intentions in the world the time that a city man can spend with his family is usually very limited, and he is not always in the mood to exert a helpful influence, when he returns at night worn out with business cares, and often prefers the club, lodge, or neighboring corner to his family circle; his wife may see little of him and his children less. It is not a matter of indifference, however, even in regard to health, whether the children enjoy a due proportion of their father's companionship, for that is or should be a vital factor in the children's growth and education, and, whenever they are deprived of it, certain elements of character and mind are almost always absent. Look around among your friends where the children have grown up without a father, and see if your observation does not show that there is some quality of mind or heart, some check or balance wanting, that no one else could supply. I observe that American fathers, whether from the exactions of business or other reasons, do not ordinarily come to my office with their ailing children. The whole matter is often left in the hands of the wife or some relative. Germans are more apt to come than Americans, and Hebrews most of all; and indeed I can not refrain from expressing my admiration of the domestic life of the better class of Jews in New York, which, so far as I have observed it, is in many respects more nearly what it should be than that of any class in our community.

Body and mind grow together; what affects the one must affect the other, so that if the influence of either parent is withdrawn the due proportion or balance is lost and certain physical as well as mental peculiarities in the children are dwarfed or accentuated. The home atmosphere often determines the mental and moral, and consequently the physical tone of the children. I claim distinctly that an atmosphere of frivolity, indolence, self -consciousness, fussiness, discontent, sentimentality, or meanness can not be without serious effects not only on the character but on the physique. Selfishness in any form is not only unattractive, but it is unwholesome; it is a depressant to the system. Per contra, high and well-rounded living not only makes sound thinking, but it abbreviates doctors' bills. It is a truism to say that no one has so much' to do with the child's acquisition of a healthy moral and physical tone as his parents, but few realize how tremendous a