G. K. Chesterton can create a whole world in a paragraph. In this excerpt from his 1910 book What’s Wrong with the World, this great mind gave us his vision of a mother at home. It is not a common vision in our young century. But perhaps his hundred-year-old words will help us see some things we can do to get this world on track. Here is what he saw, and wrote.
To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. 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.