THE WORD: The influence of home

PHOTO CAPTION: “Mother with Child and Cat” by Fritz Zuber-Buhler is a 19th-century painting. (Public Domain) 

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 

If it were possible to trace back to their beginnings, in each individual, those good or evil impulses which have become ruling affections — in most cases the origin would not be found until we had reached the home of childhood. Here it is that impressions are made, which become as enduring as existence itself. But the influence of home is not beneficial or baneful in early years alone. Wherever a home exists, there will be found the nursery of all that is excellent in social or civil life — or of all that is deformed. 

Every man and woman we meet in society, exhibit, in unmistakable characters — the quality of their homes. The wife, the husband, the children — bear with them daily a portion of the spirit pervading the little circle from which they have come forth. If the sun shines there — a light will be on their countenances; but shadows — if clouds are in the sky of home. 

If there is disorder, defect of principle, discord among the members, neglect of duty, and absence of kind attentions — then the sphere of those who constitute that home, can hardly be beneficial. They will add little to the common stock of good in the social life around them. We need not say how different will be the influence of those whose home-circle is pervaded by higher, purer, and truer principles. 

Timothy Shay Arthur (1809-1885) was a popular 19th-century author who published magazines, novels and histories.