A Children's Hour
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
"THE world is too much with us," exclaims Wordsworth: and it wedges its way into the sacred seclusion of home, and between mother and children. Every mother cries out that she gives her life to her children; and yet the children may feel that they scarcely know her, or that she knows them. She, or they, are always too busy to get acquainted. By the time their school hours and her necessary household occupations, and the time for meals, visits, and visitors are subtracted, there is usually not a moment when the little creatures can feel that their mother is altogether their own. Especially is this true in city life, where nurses and governesses come in between them, and cannot well be put aside.
Now suppose every mother who reads this page should, for a month or two as a trial, set apart the lonesome hour when the children have been wont to creep sleepily off to bed, as the Children's Hour. What if she does give up some social pleasure, or sacrifice a chance to read or sew. Don't let her dress be too fine for Nelly to maul and climb over, nor her thoughts busy with anything but the children's talk. Silly as that may be, they are the keenest of observers; they will know instantly whether it is only mamma's body that is with them while her mind is far away. Nor need she fill up the hour with hints on behavior or morals; let reproofs wait until to-morrow; let them slaughter their tenses or tell of their school scrapes as they choose--for this little while she is their friend-comes near to them.
Yet even in this gracious service there is something to be considered---too much dependence upon it. It is not necessary that the rule should never be broken. Sometimes it might cost the mother more than she ought to pay; or after a day of special excitement the youngsters would be the better for no more. But when a relation of sympathy and confidence exists, these exceptions and mutual yieldings will be easy. Therefore, on the whole, the Children's Evening Hour is an admirable institution.