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Why I do what I do.



from The American Frugal Housewife
by Mrs. Lydia Maria Child
published 1832

There is no subject so much connected with individual happiness and national prosperity as the education of daughters.

It is a true, and therefore an old remark, that the situation and prospects of a country may be justly estimated by the character of its women; and we all know how hard it is to engraft upon a woman’s character habits and principles to which she was unaccustomed in her girlish days. It is always extremely difficult, and sometimes utterly impossible.

Is the present education of young ladies likely to contribute to their own ultimate happiness, or to the welfare of the country?

There are many honorable exceptions; but we do think the general tone of female education is bad. The greatest and most universal error is, teaching girls to exaggerate the importance of getting married; and of course to place an undue importance upon the polite attentions of gentlemen.

That a mother should wish to see her daughters happily married, is natural and proper; that a young lady should be pleased with polite attentions is likewise natural and innocent; but this undue anxiety, this foolish excitement about showing off the attentions of somebody, no matter whom, is attended with consequences seriously injurious.

[I]t leads them to contract engagements, without any knowledge of their own hearts, merely for the sake of being married as soon as their companions.

When married, they find themselves ignorant of the important duties of domestic life . . . If they remain unmarried, their disappointment and discontent are, of course, in proportion to their exaggerated idea of the eclat attendant upon having a lover.

How many can I at this moment recollect, who have made themselves unhappy by marrying for the sake of the name of being married! How many do I know, who have been instructed to such watchfulness in the game, that they have lost it by trumping their own tricks!

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to be continued insha’Allah

text source : Project Gutenberg
image source: Open Clipart Library