Whatever you do in life, be greater than your calling. Most people look upon an occupation or calling as a mere expedient for earning a living. What a mean, narrow view to take of what was intended for the great school of life, the great man-developer, the character-builder; that which should broaden, deepen, heighten, and round out into symmetry, harmony and beauty, all the God-given faculties within us! How we shrink from the task and evade the lessons which were intended for the unfolding of life’s great possibilities into usefulness and power, as the sun unfolds into beauty and fragrance the petals of the flower.
“Girls, you cheapen yourselves by lack of purpose in life,” says Rena L. Miner. “You show commendable zeal in pursuing your studies; your alertness in comprehending and ability in surmounting difficult problems have become proverbial; nine times out of ten you outrank your brothers thus far; but when the end is attained, the goal reached, whether it be the graduating certificate from a graded school, or a college diploma, for nine out of every ten it might as well be added thereto, ‘dead to further activity,’ or, ‘sleeping until marriage shall resurrect her.’
“Crocheting, placquing, dressing, visiting, music, and flirtations, make up the sum total for the expense and labor expended for your existence. If forced to earn your support, you are content to stand behind a counter, or teach school term after term in the same grade, while the young men who graduated with you walk up the grades, as up a ladder, to professorship and good salary, from which they swing off into law, physics, or perhaps the legislative firmament, leaving difficulties and obstacles like nebulæ in their wake.–You girls, satisfied with mediocrity, have an eye mainly for the ‘main chance’–marriage. If you marry wealthy,–which is marrying well according to the modern popular idea,–you dress more elegantly, cultivate more fashionable society, leave your thinking for your husband and your minister to do for you, and become in the economy of life but a sentient nonentity. If you are true to the grand passion, and accept with it poverty, you bake, brew, scrub, spank the children, and talk with your neighbor over the back fence for recreation, spending the years literally like the horse in a treadmill, all for the lack of a purpose,–a purpose sufficiently potent to convert the latent talent into a gem of living beauty, a creative force which makes all adjuncts secondary, like planets to their central sun. Choose some one course or calling, and master it in all its details, sleep by it, swear by it, work for it, and, if marriage crowns you, it can but add new glory to your labor.”
Dr. Hall says that the world has urgent need of “girls who are mother’s right hand; girls who can cuddle the little ones next best to mamma, and smooth out the tangles in the domestic skein when things get twisted; girls whom father takes comfort in for something better than beauty, and the big brothers are proud of for something that outranks the ability to dance or shine in society. Next, we want girls of sense,–girls who have a standard of their own regardless of conventionalities, and are independent enough to live up to it; girls who simply won’t wear a trailing dress on the street to gather up microbes and all sorts of defilement; girls who don’t wear a high hat to the theatre, or lacerate their feet with high heels and endanger their health with corsets; girls who will wear what is pretty and becoming and snap their fingers at the dictates of fashion when fashion is horrid and silly. And we want good girls,–girls who are sweet, right straight out from the heart to the lips; innocent and pure and simple girls, with less knowledge of sin and duplicity and evil-doing at twenty than the pert little schoolgirl of ten has all too often. And we want careful girls and prudent girls, who think enough of the generous father who toils to maintain them in comfort, and of the gentle mother who denies herself much that they may have so many pretty things, to count the cost and draw the line between the essentials and non-essentials; girls who strive to save and not to spend; girls who are unselfish and eager to be a joy and a comfort in the home rather than an expense and a useless burden. We want girls with hearts,–girls who are full of tenderness and sympathy, with tears that flow for other people’s ills, and smiles that light outward their own beautiful thoughts. We have lots of clever girls, and brilliant girls, and witty girls. Give us a consignment of jolly girls, warm-hearted and impulsive girls; kind and entertaining to their own folks, and with little desire to shine in the garish world. With a few such girls scattered around, life would freshen up for all of us, as the weather does under the spell of summer showers.”