Childhood's Favorites and Fairy Stories- Hamilton Wright Mabie
Books are as much a part of the furnishing of a house as tables and chairs, and in the making of a home they belong, not with the luxuries but with the necessities. A bookless house is not a home; for a home affords food and shelter for the mind as well as for the body. It is as great an offence against a child to starve his mind as to starve his body, and there is as much danger of reducing his vitality and putting him at a disadvantage in his lifework in the one as in the other form of deprivation. There was a time when it was felt that shelter, clothing, food and physical oversight comprised the whole duty of a charitable institution to dependent children; to-day no community would permit such an institution to exist unless it provided school privileges. An acute sense of responsibility toward children is one of the prime characteristics of American society, shown in the vast expenditures for public education in all forms, in the increasing attention paid to light, ventilation, and safety in school buildings, in the opening of play grounds in large cities, in physical supervision of children in schools, and the agitation against the employment of children in factories, and in other and less obvious ways. Children are helpless to protect themselves and secure what they need for health of body and mind; they are exceedingly impressionable; and the future is always in their hands. The first and most imperative duty of parents is to give their children the best attainable preparation for life, no matter at what sacrifice to themselves. There are hosts of fathers and mothers who recognize this obligation but do not know how to discharge it; who are eager to give their children the most wholesome conditions, but do not know how to secure them; who are especially anxious that their children should start early and start right on that highway of education which is the open road to honorable success.
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