MAY 10, 1940
NEW YORK, Thursday—I visited my mother-in-law yesterday morning and was fortunate enough to find my husband's aunt, Mrs. Forbes, there. I have come to the conclusion that time lays a light hand on their generation. Perhaps they had a vigor which was denied to the rest of us. In any case, Mrs. Forbes is as keenly alert today to what is going on in the world as the majority of young people, and my mother-in-law announced that she would like to bring up her grandchildren all over again—which shows an amount of energy and conviction given to few parents of later generations.
Going from this visit to the luncheon given by the "Youth Builders" was an extremely interesting contrast. That older generation undoubtedly feels that their impress should be very firm upon the youth around them, whereas, the emphasis in the "Youth Builders" organization is the development of the young people themselves, the maturing of their thought, and, through judicious questioning, bringing out their ability to express themselves.
Five of them, ranging in age from ten to fifteen, put on a forum for us. They had been given the subject several days ago but no previous rehearsal had taken place. They had just been asked to think about it. They came all prepared with thoughts. These youngsters are public school youngsters from all over the city, and for most of them this is an extra-curricular activity. They choose their own subjects for debate and prepare their own material. They publish a magazine and their own editorial board chooses the contributions it considers the best and the "Youth Builders" mimeograph the pages. In this magazine there are articles on a variety of subjects ranging from: "Is Baseball Our Favorite Game?" to: "Should We Sell Planes To The Allies?"
I spent a short time also in the morning visiting the Paderewski Fund headquarters and listening to reports of their work. Like all other organizations raising money for relief abroad, they do not find it easy, but they have succeeded in sending food and supplies of various kinds and are, of course, continuing their efforts. The committee is such an outstanding and able one, and so many people in this country have known and loved Mr. Paderewski, that I think on a nationwide basis we will contribute to the relief of the people of Poland.
I understand so well the feelings of many of our own people who are suffering in this country, and who feel that the first duty of citizens of the United States is to help their own. We have a government, however, and a people capable of really meeting the needs in our country at present. In the long run, our duty is to solve the basic economic problem which has borne down upon our people in different ways in different localities. We also have people able to meet the appeal for suffering humanity in other parts of the world. I think we should recognize that meeting this appeal is not only a call upon the Christian spirit, but is a recognition of the fact that oppression and misery anywhere menaces the spirit of democracy all over the world and therefore is a concern of ours.