Twenty Hobbies

Recently I ran across something that made me feel better about dabbling in so many different distractions without becoming an actual expert in any of them. Turns out this pattern fits my job describtion nicely.

G.K. Chesterton, in an essay on Domesticity, writes:

She should have not one trade but twenty hobbies; she, unlike the man, may develop all her second bests. This is what has been really aimed at from the first in what is called the seclusion, or even the oppression, of women. Women were not kept at home in order to keep them narrow; on the contrary, they were kept at home in order to keep them broad. The world outside the home was one mass of narrowness, a maze of cramped paths, a madhouse of monomaniacs. It was only by partly limiting and protecting the woman that she was enabled to play at five or six professions and so come almost as near to God as the child when he plays at a hundred trades. But the woman’s professions, unlike the child’s, were all truly and almost terribly fruitful.

This reminded me of something I read in The Art of Homemaking, by Edith Schaeffer (she was Francis Schaeffer’s wife). The whole book was more or less about using your skills to their greatest extent in the home without feeling like you had to be perfect at it all. I can’t remember all the details, and that volume is in storage with all of my other 10,573 some-odd beloved books (sniff), but when I unpack it in a couple of months I’ll post more about what she says.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • S January 26, 2014, 9:48 PM

    What a lovely quotation! It’s nice to know I am among good company in all of my “second bests”. :0) Thanks.

  • Sarah January 26, 2014, 10:40 PM

    yes I love this quote. thanks for stopping by. i took a peek at your site and love the stained glass work you do!

  • Sarah February 2, 2014, 9:51 PM

    Oh I love this! And what a timely reminder for me to be grateful for the wideness of my life. I tend to get frustrated that I don’t have the time to really become an expert on any one thing, and then Chesterton flies in with a reminder that we weren’t made for that anyway.

  • GretchenJoanna February 5, 2014, 2:38 AM

    It was such a joy when I first encountered Chesterton and these writings that made me feel so understood and affirmed. He has given me permission to enjoy all my many hobbies as blessings to my family.


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