Skip to main content

Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

See other formats

INAUGURAL ADDRESS                        57

namely that of caring for and educating their tender offspring.
For today the social and economic evolution calls the working-
woman -to take her place among wage-earners, and takes away
from her by force those duties which would be most dear to her.
The mother must, in any event, leave her child, and often with
the pain of knowing him to be abandoned. The advantages fur-
nished by such institutions are not limited to the labouring classes,
but extend also to the general middle-class, many of whom work
with the brain. Teachers, professors, often obliged to give private
lessons after school hours, frequently leave their children to the
care of some rough and ignorant maid. Indeed, the first an-
nouncement of the " Children's Houses" was followed by a
deluge of letters from persons of the better class demanding that
these helpful reforms be extended to their dwellings.

We are, then, socializing a " maternal function," a feminine
duty, within the house. We may see here in this practical act the
solving of many of the woman's problems which have seemed to
many impossible of solution. What, then, will become of the home,
one asks, if the woman goes away from it? The home will be
transformed and will assume the functions of the woman.

I believe that in the future of society other forms of socialized
life will come to be a practical necessity.

Take, for example, the infirmary: woman is the natural nurse
for the dear ones of her household. But who does not know how
often in these days she is obliged to tear herself unwillingly from
the bedside of her sick to go to her work? Competition is great,
and her absence from her post threatens the tenure of the position
from which she draws the means of support. To be able to leave
the sick one in a " house infirmary," to which she may have access
at any free moment she may have and where she is at liberty to
watch during the night, would be an evident advantage to such a

And how great would be the progress made in the matter of
family hygiene, in all that relates to isolation and disinfection.
Who does not know the difficulties of a poor family when one