Magazine Article

The Small Boy in the House

Keep him happy and good

Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
The Small Boy in the House
Photo by Paris Lopez on Unsplash

A Home and Health section was introduced into the Review early on and expanded as the years passed. These two pages would feature advice, recipes, tips for cleaning, or instruction related to rearing children. An example of such counsel was the following article from April 24, 1900. —Editors.

Mrs. Sangster* has this wise word for the mothers of the small boys of today—the men of tomorrow:

“Look out, too, that the small boy is welcome in the parlor and in the sitting room. Let him stay where mother is, and bring his friends into the house, which should never be too nice or too richly furnished for his occupation. A boy who is freely given a place to play in the house, or out of doors, will not deface furniture, nor slide down the balusters. A place of his own he should have, and if he sometimes makes a little more noise than you think quite opportune, never mind; keep him happy and good. These two adjectives are nearly always found in conjunction; for the good boy is a happy one, and a happy boy is good.

“Keep your small boy’s confidence; encourage him to tell you the happenings of his day, and never be astonished at anything he says, at least not to the point of shocked amazement. Pleased amazement is rather flattering than otherwise.

“Give the little fellow an opportunity to earn some money. Let him have his regular daily chores, something which he is responsible for, and which he will be expected to attend to faithfully, but over and above this, let him weed the garden or go on errands or perform some allotted task, for which you will pay him. Nothing helps to develop real character in a lad more certainly than having work to do which has a certain commercial value—work which is worth doing, and which is done well.

“Lastly, bring the love and the fear of God to bear as a continual influence on your boy, not by word only, but by your own example, and always refer matters of which you and he are in doubt to the test of, What would Christ say about this? What would the Lord have me do? Life which keeps hold on the invisible is the only life after all for us and for our precious children.—Selected.

Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

*Margaret Elizabeth Sangster, who also wrote under the name “Aunt Marjorie,” was a Christian American writer and poet. While not an Adventist, she was a well-recognized name by Review readers. Her writings, especially her poetry and counsel for the hearth and home, frequently found their way into the Review, as this one did.