Life In The Country
As ours is a country in which the people rule, every boy and every girl
ought to be trained to take a wide-awake interest in public affairs.
This training cannot begin too early in life. A wise old man once said,
"In a republic you ought to begin to train a child for good citizenship
on the day of its birth."
Happy would it be for our nation if all the young people who live in the
country could begin their training in good citizenship by becoming
workers for these four things:
First, attractive country homes.
Second, attractive country schoolhouses and school grounds.
Third, good country schools.
Fourth, good roads.
If the thousands on thousands of pupils in our schools would become
active workers for these things and continue their work through life,
then, in less than half a century, life in the country would be an
One of the problems of our day is how to keep bright, thoughtful,
sociable, ambitious boys and girls contented on the farm. Every step
taken to make the country home more attractive, to make the school and
its grounds more enjoyable, to make the way easy to the homes of
neighbors, to school, to post-office, and to church, is a step taken
toward keeping on the farm the very boys and girls who are most apt to
Not every man who lives in the country can have a showy or costly home,
but as long as grass and flowers and vines and trees grow, any man who
wishes can have an attractive house. Not every woman who is to spend a
lifetime at the head of a rural home can have a luxuriously furnished
home, but any woman who is willing to take a little trouble can have a
cozy, tastefully furnished home--a home fitted with the conveniences
that diminish household drudgery. Even in this day of cheap literature,
all parents cannot fill their children's home with papers, magazines,
and books, but by means of school and Sunday-school libraries, by means
of circulating book clubs, and by a little self-denial, earnest parents
can feed hungry minds just as they feed hungry bodies.
Agricultural papers that arouse the interest and quicken the thought of
farm boys by discussing the best, easiest, and cheapest ways of farming;
journals full of dainty suggestions for household adornment and comfort;
illustrated papers and magazines that amuse and cheer every member of
the family; books that rest tired bodies and open and strengthen growing
minds--all of these are so cheap that the money reserved from the sale
of one hog will keep a family fairly supplied for a year.
If the parents, teachers, and pupils of a school join hands, an
unsightly, ill-furnished, ill-lighted, and ill-ventilated school-house
can at small cost be changed into one of comfort and beauty. In many
places pupils have persuaded their parents to form clubs to beautify the
school grounds. Each father sends a man or a man with a plow once or
twice a year to work a day on the grounds. Stumps are removed, trees
trimmed, drains put in, grass sowed, flowers, shrubbery, vines, and
trees planted, and the grounds tastefully laid off. Thus at scarcely
noticeable money cost a rough and unsightly school ground gives place to
a charming school yard. Cannot the pupils in every school in which this
book is studied get their parents to form such a club, and make their
school ground a silent teacher of neatness and beauty?
Life in the country will never be as attractive as it ought to be until
all the roads are improved. Winter-washed roads, penning young people
in their own homes for many months each year and destroying so many of
the innocent pleasures of youth, build towns and cities out of the wreck
of country homes. Can young people who love their country and their
country homes engage in a nobler crusade than a crusade for improved