Surely the world owes a great debt to the home. Yet the true home spirit and ideals were never more in danger of being swept completely away. The only adequate way of paying up, in this case, will be by a restoration of the early home, with its simple, pure, strong ideals. The home is not only the first member of the national family historically, but is still first in importance. This first-born must still have the birthright place and portion if the family is to prosper. All the roots of these things named still run down here for their sustenance.
A weakened home means a weakened people. It should be keenly noted that nothing else, absolutely nothing else, can take its place. A weakened home means a weakened church. It puts a greater task upon the educational institutions, and yet, however strong and able, these can never do the home's work. It means lowered standards in business, and in political and in social life. Students of present-day conditions in church and national and business life would better dig their investigating spades a bit deeper down into the sub-soil.
A father and mother living together with their children, tender in their love, pure in their lives, strong in their convictions, simple and orderly in their habits, do infinitely more than presidents and governors, legislators, educators, and clergymen can do in making a strong nation. And that is a "more" that can be replaced by nothing else. True strength can come to a nation only as the genius of the home pervades the whole inner life of the people.
The home nations are the most enduring nations. The secret of the most remarkable length of life of China as a nation must be found here. We Westerners may not think highly of their ideals. But the fact remains that where other nations have come, and shown great vitality, and done great deeds, and then vanished, leaving only ragged remnants behind, to mark the spot where once they lived, this nation of the Orient is hoary white with the years, and seems as strong as ever in its mere power to defy the wasting hand of time. Nowhere has the family so strong a hold in the national life. Nowhere do its ties bind so tightly. It seems to us to be carried to such an extreme as to be oftentimes a hindering instead of a help. But that need not keep us from seeing that in the sacred guarding of the family unit lies national stability.
And, it should be keenly noted on the other hand, that the home can be true to its own spirit and genius only as it retains and brings out into full strength these early ideals. The simple altar of worship, with its recognition of the Heavenly Father's hallowed and hallowing presence; the fine reverence for authority, and the mental and moral training and discipline which enter so potently into character-building,—these belong to the very genius of home. Without them there may be an inhabited house, but not a home.
The broader culture and thoughtful study of life's problems; the dignity of labour,, with the training of brain and hand together; the cooperative principle practically applied in the doing of life's work, so invaluable in the training of boys and girls as well as with the mature;—these as truly belong to the home, and vastly enrich its living wealth, and immensely increase its power. And the spirit of devoted mutual loyalty to the home group, and of giving strength out for its protection from all intruders; the rest and help of social warmth and fellowship and inspiration; these should be jealously nurtured and guarded that they may grow strong, and not be stolen away by the sneak thieves of modern life.