Mother and Daughter

The golden mean.

There is a happy medium between narrowness and latitude; between the exiguity which confines the mind between canal-like borders and the broad, expansive amplitude which allows it to flow with the freedom of a great river, though within certain definite limits. The tendency of the moment is towards breadth and the enlarging of borders, the setting back of frontier lines, and even to ignoring them. “One must move with the times” is a phrase constantly heard and read. It is true enough. One would not willingly be left stranded on the shores of the past; but then, in the effort to avoid this, one need not shape a wild and devious course. There is always the golden mean attainable, though occasionally it needs some seeking to find it.

Some modern daughters.

In nothing so much as the relations between mother and daughter is this modern tendency prolific of difficulty. For some generations the rule of severity that began with the Puritans has been gradually relaxing more and more, and now the spectacle of a harsh-voiced, domineering young woman, ordering her mother about, is by no means an infrequent one, detestable as it is. Nor does she always content herself by merely ordering. Sometimes she scolds as well! If the mother, in these revolutionary times, has any chance of maintaining her own position as the elder and the wiser of the two, she must keep her eyes open to the successive grooves of change down which the world is spinning. The daughter must not be permitted to suspect her of old-fashioned notions. That would be fatal!

The bicycling craze.

When the bicycle craze began many mothers disapproved of the exercise for their girls. But with doctors recommending it, and the girls themselves looking radiantly bright and healthy after a few preliminary trials, what remained for the mother but to overcome her first dislike and do all she could to persuade the father to buy bicycles for all the girls? The next step was, often, to learn to ride herself, and to benefit enormously thereby. The mother who failed to follow her daughters’ lead in this particular, as in others, proved that she was too narrow to accept new ideas; just the sort of thing to give the daughters a lead in these century-end days. And of that one must beware! The poor mothers must not give a single inch, or they will find themselves mulcted in many an ell.

About Chaperons and Chaperon-age.

The old, strait-laced ideas about chaperons are now decidedly behind the times, and the parents and guardians who try to maintain them in all their rigid integrity will only find that the too-tightly-drawn bow will soon snap. Far better to accept changes as they come, taking the wide, enlarged view, and allowing the young creatures as much freedom of action as may be consistent with the social laws. The old parallel of the hen-mother and the young ducks would come in most usefully here, were it not so hackneyed. But think what sad deprivations of the joie de vivre the ducks would have suffered had it been in the power of the hen to enforce her objections. Think of this, oh ye nineteenth century mothers! What trepidations, what anxieties, what feverish fears, assail us when the young ones escape from the restrictions that bound ourselves when we were girls! The father laughs at our tremors, and proves, by doing so, what needs no proof, that the sense of responsibility is always deeper and keener in the mother, and that, therefore, she is more bound than he to exercise due caution. To combine the two with wide views is not always easy.

“The evils that never arrive.”

“These affectionate women,” said Sir Andrew Clarke, the eminent physician, “they make themselves miserable about things that may happen, and wear themselves out in anxieties for which there is little or no foundation.” And Jefferson says: “How much have cost us the evils that never happened!” True, indeed. But, also, how much have they cost to the objects of our care? Can any one reckon up that difficult sum? The timid, fearful mother has often ruined her boys out of pure anxiety to do her very

  By PanEris using Melati.

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