SEPTEMBER 8, 1947
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I read with regret the other day of the death of Miss Mary Woolley at the age of 84. For many years her name has been a symbol to all those who fought for peace and better understanding among nations. She had a full and fruitful life, and she will be missed by all those who hope for a day to come when nations will learn to live together in peace.
I had a most interesting talk the other day with a doctor from Los Angeles who feels that, through the United Nations, we must evolve a way by which international laws can be framed and enforced to keep the peoples of the world from annihilating each other, just as we keep the men and women of any community from doing each other harm.
His real interest, however, is in the training which he thinks human beings must have in order to make world peace a possibility not through force, but through the actual preparation of the individual so that he understands how to live with other people. Much of this, he feels, should be done before the age of five—a program which would lead to interesting developments in our homes and in our educational systems, and perhaps to some changes in our economic conditions. Of course, one cannot help wondering how a woman who has to cook meals for a family that includes three children under five, and who has to do the washing and marketing as well, is going to give to each individually-developing personality the time and care needed. She will have to educate herself before she is able to handle this new type of education.
Nevertheless, there is food for thought in this doctor's ideas, since we must manage to hang together, without annihilating each other, until these children under five have a chance to grow up. And while we reflect on how this is to be done within the United States, we must not forget that simultaneously it has to be done in all the other countries of the world.
Just at the moment some of us may be wondering how it will be done, for instance, in India. I can remember a somewhat rotund and impressive person walking up and down a room that I was once familiar with and saying: "I will never countenance a blood bath." Well, at least his government is not imposing one, so that someday the people of India (if my doctor's theory can be worked out) may be so conditioned that they will not want to kill each other.
In any case, some of us are going to have to do considerable thinking about this problem. Whether or not this particular plan is feasible, the basic idea is correct. One way or another, we must evolve a means whereby we can prevent this generation from beginning to destroy our present civilization. There will then have to be some further plan for training a generation that will have learned so to control their emotions that they will really want to live for the well-being of the peoples of the world. I wonder how my readers may think this is going to be done?
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1947, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.; REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 8, 1947
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University Old Main Building, Suite 406 1951 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20052
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