MARCH 15, 1954
NEW YORK, Sunday—March 14 to 20 is the Campfire Girls' 44th birthday week. They have a project for their birthday week, and it is being introduced with the slogan, "Let's be different together."
They write about their project: "As members increase their knowledge of people in other countries—learning about their customs and cultures—they will gain a greater appreciation of the fact that each nation's way of life is not 'strange' but rather the logical answer to its basic physical needs. And, in discovering how people throughout the world satisfy their needs for food, clothing, shelter and the 'human plus,' they will learn, too, that national differences, like similarities, can be shared by all in achieving a fuller, more interesting and harmonious pattern for living."
I think this project is a fine one and I am sure it will be, as they hope, the cornerstone for their year-round activities. Young people in the Campfire Girls feel that even a seven-year-old, who, in this organization, is called a "Blue Bird," is mature enough to learn about her neighbors in far-off lands. The organization takes a deep interest in the U.N. Curiously enough, it is not afraid to say that it values UNESCO material, and of course the girls in this group take an active part in the International Children's Emergency Fund. In other words, they are learning to be good citizens of their own nation, which has become a leader of the free world.
I have been reading Vincent Sheean's novel "Lily," and I find it interesting for a number of reasons. The leading woman character is perhaps the typical American found semi-resident in European Riviera resorts. But Mr. Sheean has only used his characters to tell us something about other countries which we in the United States know very little about. The character of Ricardo, as a man, will mean nothing to those who cannot understand Spanish Catholicism. As one passage says: "The truth is that we were born what we are—that is, we in Spain—and every early experience reinforces the iron mold. You can't learn Spanish Catholicism. You either are it yourself or you are not."
The whole book is an effort to make us understand the background and the ways of thought of people who are difficult indeed for us to understand. It is well worth the reading, and I think will be rewarding not only as a story but as enlightenment about the background of some other human beings.