"I spent an afternoon a short time ago with a friend in her new home. The house was beautiful and well furnished with new furniture but it seemed bare and empty to me. I wondered why this was until I remembered my experience in my new house. I could not make the living room seem homelike. I would move the chairs here and there and change the pictures on the wall, but something was lacking. Nothing seemed to change the feeling of coldness and vacancy that displeased me whenever I entered the room.
Then, as I stood in the middle of the room one day wondering what I could possibly do to improve it, it came to me that all that was needed was someone to live in it and furnish it with the everyday, pleasant thoughts of friendship and cheerfulness and hospitality.
We all know there is a spirit in every home, a sort of composite spirit composed of the thoughts and feelings of the members of the family as a composite photograph is formed of the features of different individuals. This spirit meets us at the door as we enter the home.
If the members of a home are ill-tempered and quarrelsome, how quickly you feel it when you enter the house. You may not know just what is wrong, but you wish to make your visit short. If they are kindly, generous, good-tempered people, you will have a feeling of warmth and welcome that will make you wish to stay. Sometimes you feel that you must be very prim and dignified and at another place you feel a rollicking good humor and a readiness to laugh and be merry.
Each individual has a share in making this atmosphere of the home what it is, but the mother can mold it more to her wish. I read a piece of poetry several years ago supposed to be a man speaking of his wife and this was the refrain of the little story:
I love my wife because she laughs,
Because she laughs and doesn't care.
I'm sure that it would have been a delightful home to visit, for a good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing. And this woman was the embodied spirit of cheerfulness and good temper.
Let us be cheerful! We have no more right to steal the brightness out of the day for own family than we have to steal the purse of a stranger. (Emphasis added.) Let us be as careful that our homes are furnished with pleasant happy thoughts as we are that the rags are the right color and texture and the furniture comfortable and beautiful!
("Thoughts Are Things")