The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—I have a request in my mail from a group of young mothers who evidently feel that there is need to educate the children of today a little differently to meet a world which is in constant flux. I am glad that there is a realization that the children of today are coming into a world in which certain things have greatly changed.

More and more we are coming to realize that as an increasing number of nations get the knowledge of how to produce and use nuclear weapons the need for disarmament in the world—if we do not want to completely destroy our civilization—is becoming more imperative.

There is also a realization, however, that even disarmament will not ensure a peaceful world unless people learn to live together in peace and to use new machinery to settle their differences. Even if we took away all weapons, human nature, being what it is, would probably compel some people to any kind of force available—fists or even spades, if necessary.

So, education for peace should be a very important item in the education of people in every country of the world.

We here in the United States are the leaders of the non-Communist world. It does not look as though we are coming to any immediate agreement in the meetings in Geneva now going on. We are realizing more and more, nevertheless (and we may be sure that the same realization is coming to the Communist countries), that eventually both the free world and the Communists will have to accept, for the sake of survival, some kind of disarmament agreement.

I think we had better be realistic enough also to face the fact that just disarmament will not bring peace to the world. Fortunately, we have machinery set up in the United Nations, where we can solve our difficulties through reason instead of force. But unless the peoples of the world are trained to use this machinery it will remain unused.

Therefore, I think that those of us who are interested in education should see to it that children learn about the world as a whole—about the different people, about their customs and habits, and about the conditions that exist in the various parts of our world.

These conditions could change and they will change more quickly when we really work together for peace instead of keeping the struggle going to keep the peace by a balance of arms. No one can tell how long it will take before we are forced to agreement, but it is not too early to begin to educate our children to an understanding of the world in which they live and to impress upon them the dangers of war and the need for peace.

I would urge on all young mothers to try to see that their children get the kind of basic education that would make it possible for them to learn the languages of other countries without too much difficulty.

We should also be concerned in our country—because we live in a free country where we have to meet our needs on a voluntary basis—to develop in our children the power of self-discipline, which is one of the essentials for a citizen in a democracy to possess.

E. R.

(Copyright, 1959, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 26, 1959

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.