NOVEMBER 1, 1943
HYDE PARK, Sunday—On October 26th, an award was made which I meant to mention before in my column. The Parents' Magazine Medal for outstanding service to children was awarded this year to Mr. James T. Nicholson, vice-chairman in charge of the American Junior Red Cross.
I have long wanted to tell my readers what a remarkable increase there has been in the enrollment of the Junior Red Cross. Since Mr. Nicholson took over the direction in 1939, they have taken in nearly ten million new members. Today the skills and energies of nearly seventeen million boys and girls of school age are available for many needed services and they make a great contribution to our war effort.
They could not do this, of course, without the guidance and encouragement of the adult Red Cross leaders, both parents and teachers. Nevertheless, it shows that our youngsters of school age can understand the needs of the times in which they live and can respond with enthusiasm.
I well remember greeting them once on the White House lawn. With a lump in my throat, I think many of those boys who waved to me that day were thinking primarily of what they could do for other young people in war-torn countries and are today experiencing the dangers and hardships of war themselves.
From California has come a letter telling me of a group of women who are trying to encourage an organization which can spring up in any town, village or city. They call themselves "Mothers In Mufti." They ask that any mother who, because of her own children must stay at home, give what spare time she has to caring for some extra child, or to working with a group of children.
The idea is to encourage children to engage in some useful activity and to make them feel that these activities are worthwhile and interesting. It is suggested that women might arrange for a group of children to spend an hour or more in their homes occasionally and, if the hostess has some special skill, she can make that skill attractive and teach the children to enjoy it.
They could arrange little parties now and then for the children, whose mothers are too busy to give them the little attentions they ordinarily bestow upon them. They have taken as their motto:" Children busy today will build a better tomorrow. All children are our children." I am not sure whether this motto extended to children throughout the world might not start all of us on some good international thinking.