Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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The Little Things.
    Life is made up not of great sacrifices or duties, but of
little things, in which smiles and kindnesses and small obliga-
tions, given habitually, are what win and preserve the heart
and secure comfort. -- SIR HUMPHREY DAVY.

    This is the religion of everyday life which ought
to be taught more frequently from the pulpit.
    It ought to be lived in the home.
    The woman who goes to church with regularity
and attends to the needs of the poor, and sends her
contribution to the heathen, is not by any means
doing her whole duty or her nearest duty, if she is
nagging her husband or children for small delin-
quencies, or making herself a petty tyrant in her
home with servants or friends.
    A boy who recalls a tirade of scolding for having
been a few moments late at meals, a girl who re-
members a home made miserable by a nervous
mother's moods, or a severe father's religious disci-
pline in trifles--these children seem to me more to
be pitied than orphans.
    "I have spent my whole life in devotion to my chil-
dren," said a mother, "and now they have married
and gone into homes of their own, and I doubt if
they realize the sacrifices I have made all my life
long for their sakes.  They seem to be utterly en-
grossed in their own affairs, and yet they do not
show the devotion to their children which I do
to mine.  Such devotion is old-fashioned these
    No remembrance seemed to cross this mother's
mind of the wretchedness she had caused her chil-
dren by her petty jealousy of all their friends.  She
had been one of those mothers who resents any
regard or affection which their children show to
others.  Many such women exist, who spoil their
children's home life by a display of this ignoble
feeling, which they flatter themselves is an excess
of mother love.
    "I am furious if I see my daughter show the
slightest affection for any one," a mother said to me
one day.  "I love her so, I want her all for
    But this mother did not love daughter as well
as she loved herself.  Those whom we really love
we desire to save pain.  That man who ignores the
ten things done for his comfort, and scolds his wife
about two things she left undone, is neither a good
husband or a good Christian.  There are men
who would be highly indignant if they were told they
were not both, yet who accept without a word of praise
or appreciation the comforts which have cost fatigue,
thought and loving care, and whose first remark on
entering their homes at evening is a faultfinding
one.  There is a chair out of place, a rug unevenly
laid, a child's toy on the floor, or a slight delay
in dinner--any small thing serves to ruffle the domes-
tic waters and blow up a gale, while the countless
comforts of the home are for the moment forgot-
ten, wife and children are made unhappy, and the
evening's meal is shadowed.
    Yet this type of man believes he is a good hus-
band because he pays all the bills his family con-
tracts, and because he helps support the church and
charitable institutions he considers himself a Chris-
    It is the seconds which make minutes, as the min-
utes the hours, and the hours the days.  It is only
by keeping thoughtful and considerate and patient
through the minutes and the hours that happy days
are to be obtained in life.

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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