MAY 15, 1945
HYDE PARK, Monday—Yesterday in the old Episcopal church of which my husband was senior warden for many years, we held our service of thanksgiving for the end of the European war. We did not forget, however, to pray that our war in the Pacific would also soon come to a victorious end. People here, as everywhere, have their minds and hearts set on what happens in that area, knowing full well that there will be no peace which really brings us a lightening of the burdens of the world until Japan is also subdued.
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In commemoration of Mother's Day, our minister spoke of the suffering of mothers in the war period, but I want to talk a little today not alone about their suffering, nor about the thought which Mother's Day is supposed to stimulate in every child. I should like to have mothers everywhere recognize that their responsibility to their children, which they so often think is limited to physical and moral care, is really never fully carried out unless they fulfill their responsibility as citizens.
The life of a child and his opportunity to grow physically, mentally and morally, is largely conditioned by the type of community in which he lives. The health of the community, the measures undertaken by government—local, state and federal—to safeguard the health of the people, are going to affect the life of each individual child. The standards of the schools mean either opportunity for development, or apathy on the part of the child. Poor teachers and a dull curriculum will never stimulate a child of limited capacity to do the best that lies within his powers, nor will they give an opportunity to the gifted child to develop to the maximum his unusual abilities. A lack of recreational opportunities will, without question, mean that more young people may get into trouble of one kind or another.
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All of these things are part of the interest of a citizen, and fathers and mothers have not carried out their full responsibility to their children at home if they do not take an active part in making their communities meet the needs of the children adequately. Added to these home considerations, there is now the greater consideration of the world, which is going to press closer and closer to the life of every community. We have learned that war engulfs us and engulfs our children in spite of our own desire to be at peace. Consequently, every parent has the responsibility of understanding his country's foreign policy and helping to guide the relationship between his nation and the peoples of other nations.