The Worth of a Doll
A tract has been written on the worth of a dollar; but I know not that anyone has written upon the first four letters of that word — doll-ar. I think much might be said upon it. With your permission, I will say a few words.
Many parents seem to overlook the importance of providing home amusement, home instruction, and home employment, for their children. The minds of children are active, and they need something to interest them, amuse, instruct, and employ them.
As soon as my oldest daughter was able to speak, I procured for her a box of blocks, with the letters of the alphabet marked upon them. With these she amused herself, and soon learned the whole alphabet, and also to spell words by selecting and arranging the proper letters.
In like manner, I procured for my son the Infant's Library as soon as he could repeat the letters. First these thirty-six little books were read to him; very soon he learned to read them himself, and read them over and over again; and I have no doubt they were of as much service to him as the next six months' schooling, though they cost but twenty-five cents.
Last fall I sent for a DOLL for my little daughter. It did not cost a dollar; but it was better than I intended to get, and of course cost more. But after she had been in possession of it for some six months, I began to reckon up the worth of it to her, and I was really surprised to find the sum so great.
1.In the first place, it had made her contented at home, and kept her out of the streets; and this was surely worth to her at least $25.
2. It had taught her to sew, cut and fit dresses, and make hats and bonnets, without calling on her feeble mother for aid, at least $25.
3. It had cultivated a cheerful, contented, and happy disposition, $25.
4. It had furnished self-employment, amusement, and instruction; and so relieved her sick mother from care, $25.
5. It had helped to develop those traits so amiable and lovely in a female — sisterly and motherly affection, and love for domestic duties, $50.
6. As a motive to diligence in study and attention to other duties, it had been worth at least $50.
7. Other benefits unthought of, or indescribable, at least $100.
Whole amount, $300.
So, in a short time, I found the little doll had already been worth more than three hundred dollars! Of course I concluded that the few shillings had been profitably expended: and I am led to think that if all parents would furnish their children with some appropriate home amusements and employments — that it would be greatly to the advantage of both parents and children. It may not be necessary for all to purchase dolls; but if they would expend some few dollars in getting good books, papers, and the like for themselves and their children, I have no doubt that in less than a year they would find it a real saving. A little spent in this way might save much needless expense. If it is difficult to estimate the worth of a doll — then who can tell the value of a good book, or of a useful paper?
Some abhor idolatry, who are yet not so much afraid of dollar-worship! And though many can tell the value of a dollar, I very much doubt whether any one can estimate, in a family of children, the worth of a doll!