SEPTEMBER 5, 1936
NEW YORK—Last evening was a real joy for four of my children dined with me and we sat and talked on many questions. It always amuses me to get them together and hear the one from Texas advocating his particular mode of existence. The others who are settled or contemplating different interests look upon anything at variance with their occupations, present or future, as quite out of the running. Every now and then as an objective listener, I have to remind them that every human being has personal preferences and therefore is entitled to try out whatever seems to him agreeable.
A very nice letter came to me yesterday taking me to task for having once said, "that parents could hardly expect to retain much direction over their children's thinking after they reached the age when they began to think for themselves." Of course, my correspondent feels that home influences are, and should be, paramount and authoritative in the life of any child, not only until they are grown but after they have reached years of maturity. This is undoubtedly so, but to cover the entire subject would take pages not a column. In a few words, I think what I was trying to convey was that after the early years when a parent encompasses the whole of a child's world, the youngsters are apt to be greatly influenced by what their contemporaries and outside contacts are saying. The atmosphere and the example that they have at home, however, is, I think, always the greatest influence in forming their characters and permanent mode of thought. Far more important than anything that can be said is this intangible home influence.
With this letter fresh in my thoughts, the talk which raged around me last night was very interesting. Probably not one of the children present expressed exactly the ideas of their parents and they would hotly resent the suggestion that they were influenced by anything that had been said to them during their growing years. And yet, willy nilly, I am sure that the atmosphere in which they lived their early lives will always have some effect upon them.
An unwilling victim spent another morning at the dentist and lost two more wisdom teeth. I have never been able to discover what real wisdom these bits of bony structure brought us and they certainly are a nuisance to have removed. The doctor said he was an exemplary patient which is food for one's pride, even thought it may not add to one's comfort.