OCTOBER 24, 1939
NEW YORK, Monday—The other day I went to the rodeo at Madison Square Garden. The last one I saw was in Fort Worth, Texas, and perhaps there was a little more feeling of being in the land where the rodeos have their roots. This was a good show, however, and I enjoyed it very much.
I was terrified when I saw the boys thrown and apparently injured on two or three occasions, but I tried to reassure myself with the same remarks that used to be made to me when my own boys were playing football. I would see a boy carried off the field and be very much troubled by it, and someone would say: "Oh well, they are trained and tough. You'll see, he will be walking around soon." Very often he was, but sometimes he wasn't. I remember a good many years when I counted on one operation and two or three weeks in a hospital for one of the boys every autumn as a result of injuries in games of one kind and another.
This going away on lecture trips does complicate life, for we try to do everything possible before we leave and we never quite get through. We left the country last night, having mailed away seven large brown envelopes filled with mail, and that gave us some sense of virtue. I am here in New York City today to attend the luncheon given by Parent's Magazine in celebration of the opening of Better Parenthood Week. All of us who have had children must feel in our own hearts that there is always great room for improvement in us as parents.
I used to think that when your children were small, and therefore entirely dependent upon you for their physical well being, you owed them all your time and every effort you could put into their development. As I have grown older, I have not grown any less mindful of the importance of the physical care of small children, but I have come to believe that parents have the need for constant growth and development with their children. Every generation meets new problems in the world and our responsibilities as parents are never the same because we have to meet these changes ourselves. We must try to see ahead far enough to know what the necessary equipment will be for the child we are preparing to bear responsibility in the future.
Children have to learn to stand on their own feet today and that is sometimes hard for devoted parents to realize. The tendency is to do too much for our children, both physically and mentally. In the end all of us learn that the best we can do is to prepare these young things to be self-reliant and to do what they think is right. This won't always be in accordance with our ideas, but the day will come when we will have to trust them and simply stand as a background.