FEBRUARY 7, 1949
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Friday I went to the annual luncheon in New York City given by the Play Schools Association. It is some time since I visited the play schools, and the observation made by Mark McCloskey, who sat next to me, seemed just right for the occasion. He said the play school was one of the public entertainments that he fully enjoyed, because everyone there was really interested in doing something for children. No one was out to promote some special interest of his own, but just wanted to see the children made happy.
In these play schools, they deal only with children up to the age of thirteen. Those are the years when play can be made most constructive. Mrs. Edward Carter reminded us all of something we might well remember—namely, that in these schools' children, they have found, like to copy their elders, and their greatest joy is to have in miniature what they see at home. If at home the father shovels the sidewalk, the little boy wants to do the same with a shovel his own size, and if the mother sweeps and cooks and irons, then the little girls are blissful when they do the same at play. Perhaps we ought to remember that it is not only the home occupations that our youngsters try to copy. Manners and dispositions are also apt to be reflected in our children. Nervous, irritable or easily worried parents will soon have nervous, irritable and crying children.
Friday evening I went out with Mrs. L. Henry Fradkin of Montclair, New Jersey, to talk to the Cosmopolitan Club about the Bill of Human Rights. This interesting club, started 32 years ago, includes among its members the representatives of families who came to the United States from 28 different countries. They have tried to bring to the community some of the best things from the cultures of the lands from which they came. All of them are devoted American citizens with a real desire to see this country lead not only in military and economic fields, but in moral and spiritual areas.
Democracy and freedom are often appreciated more by those who have come fairly recently to this country than by those who have been here so long that they have completely forgotten what establishing this democracy and developing it has cost our citizens at different periods of our history.
I am enjoying very much the "Impressions" which John Gunther is publishing in one of our metropolitan papers, brought back from his recent trip to Europe. One can really spend a good deal of time reading our New York City newspapers just now, for Winston Churchill's war memoirs are also appearing, and the events described are so close to us even today that I feel this is history which we can hardly treat as we would the usual run of news.