Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Previous Chapter Table of Contents Next Chapter
A Happy Home.
Just what is a happy home?
    This question, it seems to me, can be answered
in one sentence:  It is a home governed by unsel-
fish love.
    There is only one sin in the world--and that is
    Eliminate that from the human heart and the
earth would be an Eden.
    Eliminate it from a home and the home is a mini-
ature heaven.
    A man thinks he loves his wife and children be-
cause he works hard for their support.  But if he
constantly reminds them of the expense they are to
him and seems to begrudge every dollar paid out to
maintain the home, he spoils the happiness of that
home by selfish thoughtlessness.
    Thoughtlessness and selfishness are twins.  For-
getfulness is the offspring of selfishness.  The
father and mother who forget that they were ever
young, and who expect their children to settle down
to the habits of middle age in their teens, ruin the
home as a place of happiness for the family.
    It is as impossible for the expanding nature of
youth to be satisfied with uneventful days, as for
steam to remain peaceful in a closed vessel.  It
must escape somehow, some way.  If not by natu-
ral egress, then it produces an explosion.  It was
the inconsiderate parent who caused rope ladders to
be invented.  Children are not consulted before
being brought into life.  Something is due them
afterward to make up for the discourtesy.  Yet, for
their own sakes, much should be expected of them
also.  In the most ideal homes I have ever seen, the
children were maids of honor and pages, always
ready to wait upon the king father and queen mother.
I have observed that such children love and respect
their parents far more than those who are waited
upon by their elders.
    Nothing is more ruinous to a child's happiness in
life than to allow it to rule the home.  It finds
neither friend nor comrade, wife nor husband, ready
to give it the same sort of servitude, and is conse-
quently wretched.
    A happy home does not result from a large in-
come.  A large amount of love, plenty of good
sense and a very little money will make a happy
    In a home where the husband becomes simply the
father and thinks of his wife only as the mother of
his children and of secondary consideration, happi-
ness does not dwell.
    However dear her children may be to her, no
woman is satisfied to have her personality lost in
them, and to be ignored save as a mother.
    Children seem to be a natural and necessary part
of every home, and yet some of the happiest homes
I know are those which consist of only two people,
and where these two are one in their mutual regard
for each other's welfare.
    Children ought to be bonds of union between
their parents, but they often prove to be apples of
discord instead of fruits of love.
    I have seen the devoted husband become neglect-
ful and I have seen the neglectful husband grow
devoted after the arrival of an heir to his name.
Yet I fear the first result is more frequently met
with than the second.
    A happy home, whether it consists of two or
twelve members, is one where love presides at the
board and watches over the couches; where each
person loves himself last and considers the others
first; where the irritable word is restrained and the
affectionate thought given utterance, and where
each is glad in laboring for the others' comfort and
relieving the others' cares.
    I believe there are many of these homes in our
beautiful world, and I rejoice in knowing a few
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
Previous Chapter
Return to the Table of Contents
Next Chapter