JULY 11, 1939
HYDE PARK, Monday—Even though it was a warm day, I had a very pleasant ride yesterday afternoon with Captain Eugene Harrison. It was very enjoyable to canter over the fields. We returned to a swim and were joined by Miss Mayris Chaney and another friend. Miss Chaney was leaving last night for an engagement on the West Coast at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco, and so came up to say good-bye.
Jimmy stayed with us until he had to leave to drive down to New York City to take a night train for Washington, D. C. It was delightful to have a chance for a long, leisurely talk and I was particularly glad to have him come when Mr. and Mrs. David Gray were still here. They leave me this afternoon to go to Maine for a few weeks.
The purple loose-strife is just beginning to bloom around our pond. It makes the marshes a beautiful field of color but the reflection in the water, together with the long gray trunks of trees which seem to reach down toward the bottom, makes the whole pond seem like an enchanted garden. Ducks are swimming around occasionally and yesterday a whole family of pheasant followed their mother across the road and seemed not the least disturbed by the passing car. Two tiny baby rabbits live just at the entrance to the wood road leading over to the big house. They scoot along fluttering their little white tails until they are aware of the "monster" following them, and then they are gone. All these country sights delight me.
A postcard came in my mail the other day from Atlanta, Ga., and I am going to quote from it: "If we do not teach little children to work, they stand a chance to be regimented as men. Work— how can it be put into the habits of young children? How can schools help children to see tasks to be done at home?"
The lady is quite right. Children should acquire work habits. But it seems a little hard to put all this responsibility on the schools. Parent's should plan work suited to their children's age. It should not be such heavy work that the young growing bodies will be injured, but it must give children a sense of being part of the family life and doing something really useful and needed by all those who live together in a family. Schools can not accomplish this, though they can help in educating parents.
In some homes the standard of living is so low that no real effort is made to keep the house or the grounds clean and tidy. In such homes children rarely have tasks assigned to them. The best way to stimulate an understanding of better living conditions is to place an example where all can see it, nothing impossible to achieve, but a house which hard work will produce for almost any family. If to the house can be added a family or two living in a happy cooperative manner, then you have a real demonstration of what improvements can be made.