Moccasin-walking at $7 an hour

If you really want to understand what the other fellow goes through, so the saying goes, walk a mile in his moccasins. That includes the person in your home who does the house-work, the one whose labor now has just been rated as worth $7 an hour, up from $5.

As anybody knows who has done it even for a day, taking this walk guarantees a mile full of action. Up and down stairs with eight loads of laundry; to the supermarket for six bags of groceries; to dry cleaner, gas station, and children's music lessons with the rhythmic consistency of a revolving door.

On second thought amend that saying: walk two miles and resole the moccasins.

For years nobody except housewives thought about the monetary worth of housework. Finally other people are, and maybe some day someone will find a realistic way to pay housewives and househusbands what they're worth.

In any case putting a dollar figure on their work somehow gives it a respectability it should have had all along. No matter how humble any job, all who do it conscientiously deserve respect.

Seven dollars an hour seems little enough for a spouse who does housework - make that ''homemaking.'' For it isn't merely making order out of what can seem daily chaos. More important than the miles walked and the tasks performed is the establishing of a sense of home, of harmony, of family. And that remains beyond all monetary value.

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