Friday, May 10, 2013

Virtue for Mothers

The mother holds the standard of decency and virtue in the family.

Virtue in dress and manner is important for everyone, but mothers especially have a deep obligation in this regard.  It is her job to set an example.  Ever since men have been civilized the sexes have been divided in their jobs.  And it is the mother who bears the responsibility of teaching morals.  Children watch their mothers and when a child witnesses his mother's sin it is worse than anything imaginable.  The fault of the mother is seen by her children as disintegrating human order.

“It is not difficult to see why … the female became the emblem of the universal … Nature …. surrounded her with very young children, who require being taught not so much anything as everything. Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment … is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. … How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No. A woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.” -Gilbert Keith Chesterton

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