Shocking Text

Have you been shocked to hear of the content they’re teaching in the public schools these days? Astonished at what’s covered in the classroom? Surprised to know what material is considered part of the curriculum? Well today is another day for bewilderment; I’m about to reveal an excerpt from a Home Economics textbook.1school

Now don’t worry; it’s nothing you’ll need to hide from the eyes and ears of young children, but it’s shocking none-the-less. It’s not a 2013 edition. It’s from the 1950’s! Are you ready for this? The title of this portion is… (Wait… here it comes…) HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE.

Brace yourselves! You may want to sit down before you read any further. Okay. Let’s begin:

How To Be a Good Wife

1. HAVE DINNER READY: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal–on time. This is a way to let him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned with his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home, and having a good meal ready is part of the warm welcome that is needed.

2. PREPARE YOURSELF: Take fifteen minutes to rest so that you will be refreshed when he arrives. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little {happy} and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift. Greet him with a smile.goodwifeguide

3.CLEAR AWAY THE CLUTTER: Make one last trip though the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up children’s books and toys, papers, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you lift too.

4. PREPARE THE CHILDREN: If they are small, wash their hands and faces and comb their hair. They are his little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

5. MINIMIZE ALL NOISE: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise from the washer, dryer, or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.

6. SOME “DO NOT’S”: Don’t greet him with problems and complaints. Don’t complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as a minor problem compared to what he might have gone through that day.

7. MAKE HIM COMFORTABLE: Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest that he lie down in the bedroom. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

8. LISTEN TO HIM: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

9. MAKE THE EVENING HIS: Never complain if he doesn’t take you to dinner or to other entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to unwind and relax.


Yep. That was from a Home Economics textbook! (A few years back!) I wish I could see your face right now. I’d love to know what you felt welling up inside of you as you read that list!

To be honest, after doing a little digging, I will disclose that I did NOT find the original textbook this came from. So is this text real, or is it a fabrication? Did they seriously teach this in high schools around our country? I can’t tell you for certain. But I think so… and I did agree with some of the advice!

Sure, part of it sounds a bit far-fetched… numbers 4 and 5 for starters! In our home, I make sure we all get ready after breakfast by dressing, washing faces and brushing teeth & hair. We clean up after meals. But to make sure the kiddos are looking tubby-fresh when Daddy comes home after work? It’s just not a priority. And yes, I do try to make sure that we’re playing quietly if indoors when Daddy gets home, not running through the house like wild hooligans (outside is fine but not through the house!), but we don’t turn off the washing machine for goodness sakes! And if there is a load still being laundered, we finish it up!1washing

There are other parts of this textbook page, though, that are a priority for us. Planning ahead for meals. Taking a short daily rest time in the afternoon. Routinely picking up the toys and clutter throughout the day, and especially before dinner. Refraining from ‘dumping’ on him when he comes through the door. Those things I’ve done my best to implement. And I’ll tell you why. It’s my goal to have a home that is relaxing, peaceful and orderly. Yes, for Daddy. But also for the sake of the whole family.

If, more often than not, when dinner time rolls around you haven’t got a clue what you’re serving, and both your home and your children are out of control, I can almost guarantee that you will not be feeling relaxed and rested (and neither will anyone else!).

If that is the case, seriously ponder… what do you want your home to look, feel, smell like at the end of a long day? Write your own goal if it’s much different than the one above. Then work backwards… how will that happen? What needs to change to accomplish your goal? How- a step at a time, a little here, a little there- will you implement it? Do what you can, train who you can, hire who you can… just find a way to meet your goal. A peaceful, restful haven.

This will take effort and intentionality. On its own, things tend toward disorder. We’re going against the natural flow of life. But in the long run, it’s worth it.


Probably the thing that makes the ‘good wife’ advice hardest to follow is that it is so others-centered. And we’re all pretty naturally ‘me-centered’, aren’t we? When you read the 1950s text, did you think to yourself “but I’m tired too, I’ve had a busy day too, I’ve been working all day too, I’d like a cold or hot drink served to me too…?” I know. I get it. The days are full. There’s a lot to be done. But I’m working to love others more than myself. And I’ve found that this is one way for me to do that.1love

By maintaining a haven, a house of refuge,

for my family, with my family,

I am truly loving them in a healthy way.

And it actually makes my evening more relaxing, too.


One thought on “Shocking Text

  1. Thank you Jacinda! This post had me laughing, wide-eyed at times, at then reflecting. I think we are ‘radical’ because we do strive to serve our husbands and our children more than we serve ourselves but you are so right it is hard work to lay down our wants every day and put others above us. Great reminder thank you!

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