DECEMBER 6, 1937
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I had the most beautiful drive along the River Road yesterday and enjoyed every minute of it. Certainly these two days have been the most perfect early winter weather. A little after five, I went over to have tea with my mother-in-law at the big house, and she and I sat before the fire and caught up on all the family news. She is planning to come to Washington for a long stay over the Christmas vacation and I hope Mrs. J.R. Roosevelt will come with her.
Since we can have only two of our grandchildren, Sara and Kate, who live in Washington, with us this year, we must try to draw in as many of the older members of the family and friends as we can.
The President's mother asked me again: "Is there any chance that Anna and John and their children, and Elliott and Ruth and their children will be with us?" Seattle and Fort Worth are far away and we cannot expect them very often from that distance, but I could see that she hated to admit that the family could not be gathered in no matter where they were. She should be accustomed to this however, for in her background there were years and years which her father spent in China with and without his family.
Her family was a big family, however in itself, some eleven children if I remember correctly, so I suppose they did not concern themselves so much about going to older members of their family or gathering in the grandchildren as they grew up. In any case, being New Englanders Thanksgiving was more the time for family gatherings.
I have been very busy this morning organizing our Christmas party up here, as I can only get back here on the evening of the 18th when the first celebration will already have begun. I love all the hustle and bustle and mysterious wrapping up of packages which is the prelude of every Christmas and I am enjoying myself very much.
I was amused by Doctor Tonsor's advice in today's papers to parents. He is the principal of a New York City high school and he advises mothers if they want to make their sons stop smoking, to stop smoking themselves!
Back of that lies a very good principle, teach by example and not by precept and don't expect others to do what you don't do yourself. He also suggests that the hairbrush was a useful article in the past and might be well used in the present, though he acknowledges that he doesn't believe in beating children. I think that if his first precept is carried out by all mothers and fathers, there will be very little use for the hairbrush as a method of discipline. If we grownups were always well disciplined and obedient, our children would be more apt to submit to our authority. Since we must learn to discipline ourselves sooner or later, it seems to me it is well to begin young!