MARCH 18, 1940
WASHINGTON, Sunday—Practically all of Friday was spent on the train between Chicago and Hamilton, Ohio. There were no signs of spring, but much land outside of Chicago, just as on the trip from Kokomo, Ind., looked like fertile and prosperous farm land. There was little time in Hamilton for anything but the lecture, and after it was over, we drove into Cincinnati in order to leave early Saturday morning for Terre Haute, Indiana.
In Terre Haute, I spoke for the Teachers State College in the early afternoon, and then Miss Thompson and I parted. She returned to Washington by plane and I flew back.
I always enjoy speaking at any institution where they train young people, but particularly where teachers are being given the start on an education which must continue all their lives. No real teacher can ever stop learning. The only way that one can inspire youth is to keep on being enthusiastic and eager to learn also. That can only be done if one touches new subjects constantly and opens new windows of the mind and heart that give one a zest for living and keep one eternally young.
In the February issue of Parents' Magazine there was a symposium in which a number of distinguished men told what kind of men they hoped their sons would be. Each man, I imagine, reflected his own image in his answer, and some of the things which were said struck a responsive chord in me. Dr. Thomas Parran, Surgeon-General of the United States Public Health Service, ended with these words: "I hope each (of my four sons) may be a better man than I am and that their generation may be a better one than mine." Such modesty has probably made of his boys just what he wishes them to be, and I think every one of us, fathers and mothers, would echo that same wish. If only our children can begin a little ahead of our own starting point, we will feel that our experience has counted for something.
Mr. Donald C. Peattie, naturalist and author, in the same symposium, expressed beautifully something which I have often wanted to say:" May my sons' religion be a reverence for life. May they judge by this all things that come to them. May they never fail to feel that gratitude for being alive, which is indestructible happiness. May they worship, as the manifest glory of this religion, the natural beauty of the world, and see it never through eyes dimmed by materialism. So, true to an imperishable reality, may they become strong men for any fight, but sure of what they fight for."
I am back in Washington today and, for the first time in some years, at home on our wedding anniversary. There is no special celebration, for we are rather an ancient married couple, but the President is going to see: "Gone With The Wind," which ought to be enough entertainment for any day in the year!