THE FUTURE OF THE HOME The typical home which occupied the center of our attention just now has wonderfully changed in its outward physical aspects in recent years. Hos pitals, kindergartens, restaurants, and factories have taken over on a large scale functions once per formed in the home. Society has organized some what on horizontal levels, taking children as well as adults out of the home for some activities, some enjoyments, some mere conveniences for which our fathers had no parallels. We even hear of a defensive parents' league, a sort of trade union to withstand what are felt to be the unreasonable de mands of school and society on the time of young children.
How are these changes as a whole affecting the home? Are they making it perhaps superfluous? Are they destroying its unique character, trans forming it into at worst a mechanism for perpetuat ing the race, and at best a high class boarding-house or a sort of club in which a few congenial but by age rather ill-assorted people preserve the vestiges of an obsolete institution? A closer analysis will lessen such apprehensions. What is it after all mainly that the home has lost by the revolutionary changes so much in our minds? Mainly disease and noise and dirt and drudgery.
The factory and the office are better places in every way for active work than the home was ever.
A well-managed hospital is often if not always a better place to be sick in than a family sleeping room, especially if the illness is serious, requiring medical attention and nursing. The theatre and the motion-picture are after all more entertaining than backgammon and puzzle pictures. The rivals of the home are rivals in very limited spheres. Its unique sphere remains untouched, the more dis tinctly its own because of the specialization of functions. Home is not a boarding-house but a complex of relations, physical and spiritual, which were never more beautiful, more enduring, or more ennobling than in the modern family. Romance has not departed from it, though a clearer recogni tion of ethical obligations has come into it. Re ligion still creates its atmosphere, though it is a milder, freer, healthier religion than the austere faith of ancient Rome or that of the Mosaic law, both of which have made such a lasting impress upon the family.
We may look to the transforming, emancipating influences of the future without apprehension. The family will survive, and the home will survive as its habitat, the more wholesome and the more efficient for all the new resources of civilization; for the normal and not the abnormal is the fit to survive.