The genesis of this blog was a search on the Internet to investigate the effects on children of a physically and emotionally chaotic home, which led to Homeliving Helper and eventually to Under the Gables.
However, none of the explanations I read about the importance of maintaining a loving and clean and orderly home for children was satisfying. But at last, in Lift Up Your Hearts to Mary, Peace, Prayer, Love, by Caryll Houselander, I have found an explanation that makes complete and perfect sense to me. Here is what this most poetic writer says in her essay, "The House on the Rock," in this book:
To a young child home stands for God. In it he learns to see and touch the gifts of God. If his mother is wise she will make his home beautiful. She will copy the world's creator and make a tiny new Eden. She will bring in flowers and give the child animals and feed the birds. The food on the table will be clean and simple and good. It will not only taste nice, it will look nice....
It is in his home that the child should assimilate the Sermon on the Mount, not as if it were being drilled in his brain by words, but as if he were breathing it in his whole being like the air....
The ordering of time, which seems so simple, really requires great skill and energy from the mother. It has tremendous importance, above all if it is related (as it obviously should be) to the rhythm of day and night and is interwoven with prayer.
The child should wake to the singing of the birds (and they sing in the cities as well as in the woods). Give his heart to God, when light is young, play for long hours when the world is awake and lively. He should form habits of regular hunger and thirst, so that food and hunger come together, and his grace is a real thanking. With twilight there should come stillness in the house and he should be lit to bed by the stars.
From such ordering of time he will learn unconsciously, though it may be years before he thinks this out, that he is not part of that chaos that man has made of this world, with its fearful abuse of time, but part of an ordered plan of love.
Illustration for her book Bright April by Marguerite di Angeli.