How To Have A Pleasant Home
HOME embraces animate objects and those inanimate. It is a location,
permanent or transitory, fitted with certain conveniences and occupied by
certain persons. The location has a bearing upon it as a pleasant place toreside.
This is worthy of some consideration. Securing the place and its inanimate
accessories also is important and should receive attention. But while not neglecting
these features, because the pleasure derived from a home so greatly depends upon the
people in it, much of this lesson will be devoted to the successful handling of
As to choice of location, several things must be observed. The city or section of the
country where a home must be made usually is decided by financial necessity. But
within the radius of a reasonable proximity to business interests there usually is a
wide variety of differently environed localities from which to choose. Some people,
for instance, like to live in the lowlands. Others prefer the heights. Some must be by
the water to be happy, and some delight only where there is plenty of wind and little
moisture. Then again, there are those who are content only with plenty of close
neighbors, while still others, out of working hours must be free from any sense of
crowding. The not too close rumble of traffic, or the buzz and grind of machinery, is
music to certain ears and rank discord to others.
This diversity of likes and dislikes is not mere passing fancy. It is grounded in the
responsiveness of the astral body. Certain types of environment–depending upon
the comparative height of the land, its closeness to water, its proximity to people
following specific occupations, its accessibility to fresh winds, etc.–have a very
definite vibration. This vibratory rate reaches and has an influence upon all the
people living within the given locality. If it is a rate that corresponds in frequency to
thought-cells discordantly organized within the astral body of a person, it adds its
energy to the discord and assists in attracting disagreeable events and unhappiness.
But if the environment corresponds in rate of vibration to thought-cells within the
astral body that have been harmoniously organized, it increases the power of these
harmonious thought-cells, thus attracting agreeable events and making for
Selecting the Home
–Selecting an environment for health consists of choosing one ruled by that
influence in the birth chart most favorable to health. The preference of a location for
business should be one ruled by the influence in the birth chart most favorable to
business. Likewise, the choice of a locality for the home should be made upon a
similar basis. It should be a situation ruled by the influence in the birth chart most
harmonious to that which it is desired should prosper. This prosperity
desired–unless it is a matter of real estate investment–is not so much that of the
house as that of the person living in it. Therefore, the locality should be one ruled by
the influence in the birth chart most favorable to the person. This influence is usually
that of the sign occupied by the best planet in the chart.
After the locality has been selected, the next thing is to acquire, either through
building or purchase, a suitable house and its furnishings. Individual tastes differ
markedly as to the kind of house desired and the type of furnishings it should contain.
Some people like dainty, artistic things. Others wish things that are more substantial.
There is just one broad rule to follow. The temperament and leanings of those who
are to live in the home should be considered and things should be arranged in
reference to these tastes to give as much pleasure and comfort as possible.
If the man of the house, for instance, is engaged in work that soils his hands and
clothes, he must not be made to feel he is an alien in the house because every room in
it is so neat and exquisite that he will spoil something if he comes into it just as he
comes from work. He should feel there is one room at least where he is welcome and
can be comfortable just as he is, until he is rested enough to prepare himself for more
delicate surroundings. Unless the home welcomes him as a place of comfort and
satisfaction, he will come to dislike it, will come to dislike the work which causes
him to feel uncomfortable in the home, and probably end by feeling dislike for those
in the home who make him unwelcome unless he is immaculate.
Dirt of any kind is abhorrent. But many a mother has been such a slave to cleanliness
and order that she has driven her husband and her children from her. A little mud on
the carpet was more important than the happiness of her family. Everyone in the
house felt constrained. It was recognized that freedom of action might get something
disordered or a little soiled or in some way upset the precision with which the house
was kept. And that this would precipitate a storm. But it seems to me that the function
of the home is to conduce to the comfort and pleasure of its inmates.
Visualizing a Home
–With a home in mind such as would be compatible to those who are to occupy it,
the next step is to visualize it clearly. That is, form a picture of it in the mind each day,
if possible at a regular time. This image should stand out as clearly as possible, and be
held consistently for a few minutes at least, and longer if feasible. The holding of this
image before the mind should be accompanied by the feeling of assurance that it will
be realized objectively. To still further impress the idea on the unconscious mind you
may at the same time repeat THIS IS MY HOME WHICH IS BEING ATTRACTED
The unconscious mind, with such an idea so constantly before it, utilizes many
avenues for the accomplishment of the purpose that is closed to the objective mind.
This does not mean that you may not have to work and make sacrifices for the home
you vision. None of the means ordinarily employed to procure a home should be
neglected. But it signifies that an image so impressed upon the unconscious mind has
a power to divert both invisible and more material energies into its fulfillment. Such
an image confidently held in the mind exerts a power toward realization.
But whether this ideal image has as yet been realized or not, you, as well as others,
must live somewhere. Whether or not this somewhere arises to the dignity of being
called a home, if others are closely associated with you, their influence more than any
other probably contributes to making for the discomfort or for the pleasure you
experience. It is the attitude and the actions of people that commonly make or mar a
home. Therefore, the most important factor in establishing a pleasant home is to be
able to direct into pleasant channels the actions and speech of those in it.
The Uncomfortable Home
–Again I must point out that a home is attractive in proportion to the amount of
comfort and pleasure it affords. When young people, or their elders, spend too many
evenings away from home the cause is easy to diagnose, although it may be a difficult
matter to cure. It is because they find more pleasure somewhere else than they find in
Homes that are full of wrangling and discord, that are uncomfortable from any cause,
that are uninteresting and drab, drive husbands and wives as well as young people to
seek relaxation elsewhere. If it is a stuffy place, or too noisy, or the chairs are too
hard, it is far too much to expect of human nature for father to do much reading, for
mother to feel contented, or for the children to remain at home except to eat and sleep.
And an atmosphere of austerity will drive any bright youngster away.
People mostly forget in training their children, in training themselves, and in
influencing others that pleasure is attractive and that pain is repellent.
Few things are more painful than monotony. A home with nothing to do but
disagreeable work is not attractive. A home into which enjoyable companions can
come is a different thing. But what a comparison there is between a home in which
everyone must sit just so, and must speak precisely, and must do this and must not do
that, and the night life of a jazz age. Sparkle and movement and excitement, other
people of kindred age and taste, all bent on having a good time. Nothing to do at home
but sit about and listen to someone grumble. Is it any wonder some of the youngsters
And the same thing may be said of sex. Every mention of it at home is met with
rebuke. It is something mysterious, something to be shunned, and about which no
information can be gained. But elsewhere than in the home it is given a different
aspect. The schoolmates and the other youngsters that go on joy rides and drink gin
are full of ideas about it. Many of these notions are incorrect, but at least they are
fascinating. Sex, by the jazz crowd, is considered as nothing but a source of pleasure.
It is made just as alluring as possible, and no mention is made of the pain arising from
In the home any mention of sex gives rise to discomfort, but this discomfort is not
associated with sex, but with those who administer the rebuke. The youngster feels
unfairly treated when he can get no direct answer on a subject in which he has
become vitally interested. This rebuff is associated with the person administering it.
But when companions talk, it is of the pleasures. Not having full information he feels
his elders, for some obstinate reason, have been swindling him out of these pleasures.
Monotonous and dreary homes drive young people to spend their evenings
elsewhere. And lack of complete information, by emphasizing the pleasures and
suppressing the dangers of sex, is the surest application of psychological principles
to make for youthful delinquency.
–A home to be pleasant, and therefore attractive, must be provided not only with
certain physical comforts and conveniences, but with interests. Movement and
change are as necessary to human welfare as are food and shelter. Books and
periodicals should not be lacking; perhaps occasional entertaining, perhaps some
better music over the radio, but at least some diversion is an essential for a happy
Everyone in the home contributes to its interest or to its severity, to its harmony or its
discord, and to its attractiveness or lack of it. Everyone in the home is a bundle of
habits. These habits have all been acquired. Such habit systems, while some may
have become quite stable, undergo greater or less modifications. The modifications
can be made greater through the effort of the individual or the influence of his
The home habit systems are not the same as the school habit systems, or the business
habit systems, or the company habit systems. It is true, however, that a certain habit
system may carry over into other departments of life. It may be so thoroughly
established as a part of the character that it expresses in all environments and under
all conditions. A man may have a habit system of straight-thinking, a habit system of
unselfishness, a habit system of honesty, a habit system of initiative, or a habit
system of kindliness that persists in every environment. But quite commonly, in fact
more commonly, a person is one type of individual in his public life and quite
different at home.
In developing the habit systems of children and in correcting the habit systems of
elders, ourselves included, a well defined method should always be followed. And if
intelligence is exercised in its application the results will be very satisfying.
In principle it is very simple, although in its application it stresses the ingenuity and
inventive ability to the breaking point. It consists in devising means by which in
some manner PLEASURE may be associated with the desirable habit or trait of
The opposite principle of causing PAIN to be associated with the undesirable traits
and actions seldom has a use, and must always be applied with circumspection. Its
application may be considered as admitting lack of ingenuity to find and properly
apply a PLEASURE ASSOCIATION. It is very difficult to administer pain without
the pain being associated with the person responsible for its administration rather
than with the trait or the action. And painful experiences and emotions build into the
finer body of the individual discordant energies that in turn tend to attract
There is probably no one in the common run of homes who at times does not exhibit
characteristics that cause others unpleasantness. Some people have moods, some are
unreasonably touchy upon certain subjects, some speak too abruptly, some nag,
some act too boisterously, some tend to bickering, some to little selfish actions, some
to outbursts of anger, some to emotional scenes and weeping. The individual who is
poised and pleasant at all times, who on all occasions respects the feelings and rights
of others, and who does not let the wear and tear of competitive life at times fray his
nerves to a raw edge, is all too uncommon. Everyone associated with the home
usually could contribute more to its success.
Yet whatever the little mannerisms, the little selfishness, the thoughtless actions, or
the emotions by which the home is made less pleasant, we may be sure they arise
from one of two sources: Either there has been some defect in the training and
emotional development in the past, or a condition has arisen in the present that
stimulates undesirable expressions. It may be something existing in the home, but
more often it is an emotional disturbance within the unconscious which results from
some problem not related to the home for which no adequate solution has been
–The very first thing to do, then, is to take a thorough inventory of the conduct of
those in the home as affecting it as a pleasant place in which to live. In all situations
where a number of people are closely associated it is necessary, of course, to make
some allowance for temperament and to cultivate a spirit of cheerful give and take.
But the emotional traits, or temperamental peculiarities, or the kind of actions of each
individual in the home, including oneself, that contributes to unpleasantness can with
a little observation and thought be tabulated. And another list of actions and traits that
could contribute positively to the enjoyment of home life may as easily be prepared.
Such lists give a definite objective toward which to work.
Next, because a great many annoying actions and a great many emotional
disturbances have their seat in the unconscious, and the individual expressing them
thinks he is so doing for reasons very different from the real ones, each of these
disagreeable actions and traits should be analyzed to determine its real cause.
In previous lessons of this course I have pointed out the cause of boasting, the cause
of never admitting a mistake, the cause of violent temper, the cause of hysteria, the
cause of chronic apologizing, the cause of shyness, the cause of timidity, the cause of
contrariness, and the cause of various other traits. These arise from emotional
disturbances or maladjusted ideas developed in childhood. Unreasonable emotions
and peculiar conduct always arise from conflicts within the personality. They are the
result of ideas that have not become reconciled to each other. Such, as well as
conditions arising in the present of a more objective nature, that cause disharmony in
the home should be traced to their source.
It will be found that many annoying actions and emotional storms of one kind and
another are merely ways by which the unconscious strives to have its own way. They
are devices, unrecognized by the conscious mind as such, by which the unconscious
mind strives to get what it wants. The child that kicks and squalls and makes such a
nuisance of himself that he is finally permitted to do something that was forbidden,
has developed a technique in his unconscious that may carry over into adult life as
sulkiness, as tempestuous anger, or as other emotional states which he detests and
strives in vain to conquer.
It may be the individual, at some period of the past, has got what he wanted or has
received notice or sympathy through sulking or other emotional expression. The
conscious mind may abhor the use of such methods to gain its ends. But the
unconscious mind has had a different training. If it has found it can get what it wants
through staging a dramatic scene, through raising a rumpus, through threatening
others, threatening to end the individual’s life, or through tears and wailing, it will
not hesitate to use such means in spite of the vigorous protest of the conscious mind.
And next to getting what it wants the unconscious mind likes notice and sympathy. It
joys in being the center of the stage. It fattens its feeling of importance on the
attention it attracts from others.
To cure the unconscious of using such manifestly unfair means to gain its ends,
whatever those ends may be, the others in the home should pay no attention to the
individual during the emotional manifestation. Nothing quite so effectively
impresses the unconscious mind that its efforts are misdirected as to have its antics
ignored.Furthermore, means should be devised by which the person who attempts to
influence others by being disagreeable should always fail to gain his ends by it.
In this the inventive quality of the mind often must be exercised to its fullest powers
to prevent the failure to attain the desired end becoming associated in the person’s
mind with the home or with the persons in the home. It must be handled in such a way
that it is perfectly clear to the individual that neither persons nor the home is in any
way responsible for the pain of frustrated desire, but that his desire was not realized
because he used an unprofitable method of procedure.
Fully as important, and supplementing this, some method should be devised by
which the person gains something pleasurable when he refrains from using
disagreeable methods to gain his ends. It should be so obvious that he can have no
doubt in his own mind that the pleasure came to him because of his good conduct. It
may be only praise, or it may be something tangible; but it should not be neglected;
for the unconscious mind is led by its pleasures.
The husband who bullies and the wife who nags are equally amenable to such
handling. But whether the method be applied to a child or an adult, great care should
be exercised that a spirit of antagonism is not aroused.
Indifference to unreasonable conduct is completely discouraging to the feeling of
self-importance of the actor; but if carried out in too studied a manner it may be
interpreted as active antagonism. The unconscious applying emotional technique to
unfairly gain an advantage over another can find a satisfactory substitute outlet in a
quarrel. It takes two to make a fight, it is said, so the indifference should not be
carried to a point where the individual really is justified in feeling aggrieved. Much
finesse is required in its application.
Cause of Emotional
–In the unconscious of every person there have been built up certain very strong
fundamental desires. These belong to ten distinct categories. Both before life in
human form and since human birth the emotions and feelings which accompany all
the individual’s experiences add their energy to one of ten groups of thought-cells
within the finer form. Each of these groups of thought-cells is mapped in the chart of
birth by one of the ten planets, and each group is mapped as to the volume of its
energy, the department of life with which chiefly associated, and as to its harmony or
discord by the house position and aspects of the planet mapping it.
The more feeling or emotional energy the soul has experienced relative to the phases
of life mapped by a planet, the more prominent that planet appears in the chart of
birth, and the more energy the group of thought-cells have which it maps. The more
energy the group has the more powerful are the desires of the thought-cells of the
Thus the more prominent the Sun is in the birth chart the more powerful are the
desires for significance; the more prominent the Moon is in the birth chart the more
powerful are the desires for home and offspring; the more prominent Mercury is in
the birth chart the more powerful are the desires for intellectual activity; the more
prominent Venus is in the birth chart the more powerful are the desires for affection,
for companionship and for the beautiful; the more prominent Mars is in the birth
chart the more powerful are the desires for sex and constructive or destructive
activity; the more prominent Jupiter is in the birth chart the more powerful are the
desires for joviality and good will; the more prominent Saturn is in the birth chart the
more powerful are the desires for safety; the more prominent Uranus is in the birth
chart the more powerful are the desires for originality; the more prominent Neptune
is in the birth chart the more powerful are the desires for the ideal; and the more
prominent Pluto is in the birth chart the more powerful are the desires for cooperation
Thus the birth chart indicates both the power and certain general trends of the desires
within the unconscious before these have been given still more energy and special
trends through experiences following birth into human form. Experiences after
human birth may facilitate a more harmonious or facilitate a more discordant
expression of the desire energy stored in any of the ten groups of thought-cells. And
through thus facilitating repeated expressions of these desires, they may condition
the individual to release the desire energy rather violently with little external
A desire, when stimulated may express itself chiefly in action; in moving physically
to attain the realization of the desire. But if it is stimulated without finding any other
outlet for the energy thus released by the thought-cells, the thought-cell energy is
imparted to the electromagnetism of the nervous system and expresses as an
Any of the ten groups of thought-cells may release its desire energy either in physical
action or in an emotion. Emotions, which are violent disturbances of the nerve
currents, are valuable to many animals to enable them to meet emergency situations.
For instance, the call for conflict stimulates anger, and the realization of inability to
handle a situation stimulates fear. Not all emotions are valuable, however. Thus
sorrow is stimulated by the realization of a loss. More beneficial in human life, belief
that a fond desire will be realized stimulates hope; the realization of a fond hope
stimulates joy; and the thought or presence of a love object stimulates passion or
Emotions properly utilized to turn the energies into constructive activities are a great
boon; but when they dominate the individual they are tyrants that thwart his aims and
give great annoyance to others. As explained in Chapter 07 , the desire
energies of each of the ten groups of thought-cells should be given
adequate opportunity for expression–for they cannot successfully be repressed–in
some beneficial activity Thus to train them, however, requires that the individual
should recondition his own habit-systems. This is a difficult task for anyone; and,
human nature being what it is, it is unlikely those in the home can be induced to make
such an effort.
We can, however, by understanding what causes others to give way to emotional
outbursts, do much to prevent such disagreeable occurrences. About the surest way
to cause such an outburst in another is abruptly and suddenly to block some desire.
The energy of the desire, not having time to find a substitute outlet, flows over the
dam of self-restraint as emotion. The more freely and strongly the desire is flowing–
that is, moving toward realization with no prospect of disappointment–and the
more abruptly it is blocked, the greater the emotional storm. It makes no difference if
the obstacle comes from without or from within, when a strong desire is suddenly
thwarted, the flood of emotional energy engendered presses for an outlet with
Some immediate desire, that to others seems trivial, under certain circumstances may
when frustrated cause disproportionate emotional expression. When dammed up it
flows back upon itself to a point where it connects up with the whole group of
fundamental desires with which it is related. This association of it in the unconscious
with the more fundamental desires stimulates them into activity. In reality, the
emotional outburst is not the energy of this one rather unimportant desire; but the
combined energy of a whole group of deep seated allied desires which have been
called upon to furnish reinforcements.
When either children or adults manifest disproportionately violent emotions when
things do not happen as they wish, we may be sure that fundamental desires or
conflicts deep in the unconscious have been tapped. The real condition should then
be sought out and relieved by a recognition of its source and by providing a suitable
and constructive channel for the outlet of this outlaw energy.
Among other things, a progressed aspect to a given planet indicates that the
thought-cell group mapped by this planet in the birth chart is receiving much more
energy than it normally does. Because it thus has more energy its desires are
correspondingly more insistent.
The events which come into an individual’s life under a progressed aspect may be
chiefly due to his actions, or they may be due to the work of his thought-cells on the
inner plane exercising extra-physical power. But in addition to events attracted
which seem not to have been influenced in any way by the individual’s behavior,
every progressed aspect influences his thinking. And if the progressed aspect is
discordant, or is to a particularly discordant planet in the chart of birth, the feelings
and desires of that planetary type are both increased and apt to be similarly
discordant. Thus an individual during a period while the dominant progressed
aspects are harmonious may be much more pleasant to have in the home than during
another period when the dominant progressed aspects in his chart are highly
But aside from progressed aspects, frequent stimulation of the same impulse or wish
without providing it with an outlet is like flecking the flesh in the same spot with a
lash. The first blow or two may only sting, but as it is continued the place becomes
raw. Each additional impact of the whip increases the inflammation until at last it is
Take the desire for self-esteem, for instance. Father, perhaps, has hoped for a raise in
salary. He feels it his due, but the raise has failed to arrive. Instead, lately he has been
reprimanded on several occasions by his employer. He is doing his best, but seems to
be making no progress. A new man has been placed with him to work in the same
department, and the new man, although lacking in experience, refuses to take orders.
Furthermore, some of his acquaintances in other departments, perceiving his
difficulties, joke him about the new man, and that the new man will probably have his
job before long. Thus, through various channels, his self-esteem becomes sensitized.
Under any similar circumstances, all the wife or child needs to do to raise a seemingly
quite unreasonable storm is to mention something that father may construe as
questioning his ability or success in life. Let the wife ask if he is always going to work
for the present salary. Or suggest that she is ashamed to ride in the old car and that
they should be able to afford a new one. Or mention that their neighbor seems such a
smart man, he got a raise in pay just last week.
The emotional reaction that then occurs will seem absolutely incomprehensible to
mother. What really happens is that a whole set of incidents thwarting his desire for
advancement has been stimulating and blocking the fundamental desire for
self-esteem. What mother says may be quite unimportant, but if it still further
stimulates this desire stream without providing a constructive outlet, the energy will
express in discordant channels.
Furthermore, if desires belonging to any fundamental group are repeatedly thwarted
without their energy finding a substitute outlet, the individual becomes unduly
sensitive to everything in any way related to the fundamental desire. He may be so
“touchy” about certain things that no one dares mention them in his presence. Where
such a condition exists the proper thing is to trace these baffled desires to their source
and then work for a proper readjustment of the mental life by which their energy may
be released in some productive endeavor.
Whatever the disagreeable trait by which a member of the home causes others
unpleasantness, after its real underlying cause has been ascertained, the individual
himself should if possible be led diplomatically to recognize the source of these
actions. Even if the actions are not of a deep-seated emotional nature, but merely the
result of selfishness, indifference, carelessness, and a disregard of the feelings and
rights of others, it is well that he should understand this. And without exciting
antagonism, and without causing him to feel unjustly treated, he should be made to
realize by all other members of the family that such conduct results in no gain to
himself. As a third and final factor, he should be given the opportunity to learn
through experience that when he refrains from such actions his life is more pleasant.
And the more immediately the pleasure follows, and the more directly it appeals to
the senses, the more effective it is apt to be.
Government of the Home
–The home is a miniature state. As such it has its financial problems, its problems of
government, and its problems of production. All the members have certain duties and
obligations, and if these clearly are defined so that each member knows just what
work he is expected to do, just what is expected of him in regard to earning or
spending money, and just what conduct in regard to others is expected of him, it
prevents much misunderstanding.
States are governed in a variety of ways, as are homes. There are absolute
monarchies, dictatorships, republics, democracies, and communistic associations.
Monarchies and dictatorships, while very effective economically for a time under a
wise ruler, psychologically are unsound, and do not lead to the happiness and proper
development of those ruled. They attack two of the groups of fundamental desires,
the desire for self-esteem, and the desire to express individuality. The ruler may have
the power to force submission in action, but smoldering revolt will burn in the breasts
of his subjects and flame into open rebellion whenever his power begins to wane.
When in the home everyone must without question take orders from one individual,
regardless of the soundness of his decisions, it makes for blocked desires,
repressions, and discords.
Where there are children, or where some have greater ability and experience than
others, the communistic method cannot be recommended in the home. But for
happiness either in state or home a member must not have his individuality crushed
out by the arbitrary authority of another. Yet in many homes we have just such an
exercise of power.
Either father or mother often becomes the sole dictator of family life without regard
to any special ability to direct its destiny successfully. More often it is because in
earlier life the technique has been learned by which others are dominated. The family
submits to being bossed, because it is less painful than the disturbance that results
when the dictator is defied or even reasoned with.
But we may be sure of this, no one likes to be ordered about. The husband or the wife
may give in and say nothing rather than have a row, even when there is certain
knowledge that the policy advocated by the other is not the best. Yet underneath, in
the unconscious, there rankles the sense of injustice.
People–husbands, wives, children, employees, citizens–have opinions and like to
have some say about running their own affairs. To refuse to hear their side of the
story, to fail to give consideration to their plans, to ignore their views as of little
consequence, is a direct attack on their self-esteem. Down in the unconscious there is
sure to be engendered resentment. This is cumulative. Every additional instance in
which the individual viewpoint is ignored means stimulating the desire for
self-esteem and at the same time blocking its expression.
By and by the citizens of a country that does not permit them to work intelligently for
what they believe to be better conditions rise up in revolt and overthrow the arbitrary
authority. The employees, likewise, who are not permitted to take their grievances to
someone with the power to remedy them, and who are given no hearing in regard to
bettering their condition, after a time go on strike. Wives put up with husbands who
are less competent than themselves yet who brook no suggestions from the wives;
and husbands put up with wives who direct their mutual policies though quite
incompetent to do so, often for many years. But in time the discord of wounded
self-esteem and the accumulated feeling of injustice brings an end to affection and
leads to separation. And children to whom no explanation that they can comprehend
is given, but from whom implicit obedience is demanded, remain under parental
authority only until they can get away from it. Even while at home they are in a state
of inward rebellion.
The extent to which any member of the family should exercise governing authority
should depend upon his ability to direct it successfully. One member is often very
competent in financial matters, but not so competent as another in managing the
home, or in training the children. Such abilities should be carefully analyzed in the
light of past experience and the birth chart, and authority exercised in a given field
only by the one most competent.
Yet to have a pleasant home, this authority should not be used arbitrarily. The
individual exercising authority in any walk of life should bear in mind that the sudden
and arbitrary blocking of desire stirs up emotional discord. Instead of such blocking,
if the desire may not be realized, the person should be brought to see why it should
not be realized.
He should be given consideration, and as much information as
possible. He should be made to feel that the one in authority is kindly disposed
toward him, and led to a comprehension that will cause him to direct his desires into
more acceptable channels. Such methods are applicable by governments dealing
with citizens, by capitalists and labor unions in dealing with each other, and by
parents dealing with children. And as often as possible, when the desire is not such as
can find expression, some pleasant substitute should be suggested to absorb its
It is not expected, of course, that all members of a family will view life from the same
angle. It would be strange if there were not differences of opinion on many matters.
And for harmony and the success of the family it is not necessary that all should be
won over to a single view.
People of different temperaments and people of different experiences draw different
conclusions from the same set of facts. Because of this it is now considered sound
business practice for the executive head of a business to have associated with him
another able man of opposite temperament. If the executive is optimistic and
expansive, he needs as his associate someone who is conservative and careful. If the
executive is rather pessimistic, he needs for associate some person of lighter moods
and more confidence in the bright future. So in the home also, we may expect to find
different temperaments and that they may be made to contribute, each in its particular
way, to the success of the family life.
But that such divergencies may not cause discord, each must learn to respect the
views of the others. The attempt to control the opinions of others through conflict,
mental or physical, fails alike in the state and in the home. Tolerance of opposing
views and tolerance of actions that are not approved of so long as these are harmless,
make for the contentment of all.
When a reprimand becomes necessary, it should be applied with diplomacy. This is
equally true in the home, in the office and in the factory. A reprimand made publicly
or before others attacks the self-esteem. Self-esteem seldom permits the unconscious
to acknowledge a moral wrong before a number of other people. To do so makes the
unconscious feel too inferior. Therefore, instead of admitting the fault it builds up
numerous frictions to excuse itself and to transfer the blame elsewhere. Even if there
is force at hand to compel the admission of moral wrong publicly, the unconscious is
in a state of rebellion against the admission. If such force is not at hand the energies
launch an open attack to justify the action, and if it is at hand a campaign of
justification follows secretly.
Instead of delivering the reprimand in a manner that stirs up antagonism, and perhaps
spoils its whole object, it should be administered or implied privately. And while no
room for doubt should be left as to the consequences should the error be repeated, it is
a good policy whenever possible to leave a loophole by which the individual can save
his face. If he can manage to retain his self-esteem, his efforts have the opportunity of
endeavoring to correct the fault. But if the self-esteem is injured the energies are so
concerned with antagonism toward the one associated with the humiliation that little
or none may be directed toward preventing a recurrence of the condition.
Because everyone in the home contributes to its pleasure and its sorrow, the effort
should be made to regulate the conduct of each member in such a way as to contribute
as much of interest and harmony as possible. This effort is directed toward
influencing the conduct of others. It cannot successfully be done by scolding, by
demanding, or by threatening. People cannot be driven into harmonious cooperative
activity. They are led by their desires, and the secret of influencing conduct anywhere
is the wise selection and presentation of desirable thoughts, opportunities, and
Due to their different vibratory rates certain people always get on each other’s
nerves. Where this is noticeable between members of a family, or between members
of society, it is always best not to make such individuals associate closely. The
radiations from the finer body of one person may be actively destructive to the finer
body of another. It is a great misfortune when such people must come too intimately
in contact. Usually it may be devised so that even when living in the same home they
are not compelled to be too much in each other’s physical presence.
Then again, other people who are not ordinarily discordant to each other may have
differences of opinion, or may have misunderstandings, or one may inadvertently or
otherwise hurt the feelings of the other.
When two people have a grievance against each other, in the home or out of it,
because the thought of the other comes so strongly before the attention due to the
emotional associations, and because action is in the direction of attention, they are
apt to be drawn into each other’s presence. Even though objectively unaware of it, the
unconscious mind directs their steps where the emotional discord will have
opportunity to express itself. Even though both have resolutely determined to treat
each other pleasantly, because there is discord in the unconscious associated with the
other, almost automatically, and perhaps to the surprise of both, their contact
develops into an unpleasant exchange.
Under such conditions, until sufficient time has elapsed for the emotions to subside
and the thought of hurt or resentment to give place to a more coldly analytical frame
of mind, it is better for such people resolutely to avoid contact, and particularly to
avoid any reference to the cause of contention.
After sufficient lapse of time, if they approach the matter with a determination to
adjust the difficulty, or if another wisely undertakes to bring about such an
adjustment, it can usually be accomplished.
In the case of the home it should be approached from the standpoint of the good of the
home as well as the good of the individual. In the case of the state, the good of society
should take precedence. Both, or all, the contending individuals should be made to
see the value of their cooperation to the larger group. They should be shown that
contention is not beneficial to themselves, and ruinous to the home or country. It is
not that either should feel compelled to give in to the other, or take action that will
cause a permanent feeling of dissatisfaction. Instead, a course should be searched out
that will enable the individuals to compose their differences, not by defeating each
other, but by some plan not repellent to either that has the larger advantage of
benefitting a greater group.
–We have now discussed the more important causes of unpleasantness in the home,
and I trust have indicated how these various annoying features may be removed. It
would seem with monotony routed, with disagreeable emotional factors corrected,
with unpleasant actions eliminated, with contentions harmoniously composed and in
their places numerous pleasures, that nothing more might be expected of a home.
But especially where children are involved there must be cultivated a willingness at
the proper time to leave this safe haven. The wife, too often, is so relieved of the
responsibility of financial management that when left a widow she is quite
unprepared to take care of what she may inherit. And the children face a still more
If home is nothing but pleasure, if it shields them without cultivating a sense of
responsibility, they are unprepared for the normal step of adult life, the shoving out
into the world and establishing a home of their own. A fixation may develop where
the home is concerned. So-called nest-habits may become so strong that they dread to
marry, hesitate to leave the comforts to which they have become accustomed for the
uncertainty of a different environment.
Children should not be held at home after maturity. Too inseparable an attachment
for parents should be discouraged. Too great dependence of children on parents or of
parents on children hampers the proper development of individuality. Individuality
and self reliance are among the most valuable qualities that life can develop. One of
the purposes of normal life is frustrated when children and parents fail at the proper
time to lead independent lives. Children should be trained, therefore, to feel that it is a
glorious thing to fulfill this important purpose of life to establish a home of their own;
and in this home through the avoidance of painful experiences and the cultivation of
those enjoyable, to make of it another pleasant home.