The Boy And His Den
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
IF you wish your boy to be supremely happy, if you want to cultivate within him a desire for self-dependence, if you would like him to become neat in appearance, you should let him have a room, a corner of the house that is all his own. " So writes Dennis H. Stovall in an essay in "The Mother's Magazine"on the value of the "den" in a boy's life and education. "Home for the boy should be more than a place to eat and sleep. The sweeter the associations of home, the greater the privileges allowed, the closer will the boy be drawn to it. Give the boy a `den' that he can call his own, and he will feel that all the privileges due a boy have been allowed him. His interest in the home will then be such that nothing can entice him away, for his heart will be in his work, and his work and thoughts will be in his `workshop.' Give him a `den' and he will make of it his castle and home. He will make it his refuge when trouble pursues him. It is there he will go when those leaden hours come, as they come at times to every boy, when he feels utterly friendless and all alone; and during these seasons of gloom, brief though they may be, he will close the door and let his overcharged heart well up into his eyes. Every boy must cry now and then, and there is no better place to shed tears than in the privacy of his "den." It is there he will tell his mother the secrets of his heart, that she may comfort and console. It is there the boy and the mother will come to know each other and to understand each other as nowhere else. And this close communion will bind their hearts with a golden chain whose links the wear of time can never break."