JANUARY 1, 1955
HYDE PARK—Here we are again at the beginning of a new year and may I wish all my readers a very Happy New Year!
We look back over the past year and everyone of us is grateful that we have peace—peace in Korea, peace in Indo-China. Troubled peace, to be sure, not very secure anywhere in the world, but still better than a year ago. No one is ready to make any predictions for the future, but we feel fairly sure that everyone wants a continuation and an improvement in the world situation during the coming year.
Someone wrote me the other day that peace of any kind had to begin with individuals, that if each of us could really become a "man of goodwill" then we could look for that same attitude throughout the world.
I also read a little article on New Year's resolutions which dealt rather scathingly with such resolutions. Among other things, the article said that everyone would resolve to work for peace in the world and then do nothing. It advocated simpler resolutions—resolutions that deal with the actual things we could do something about in our own daily lives. The writer insisted that if we wanted peace we should resolve to develop qualities in ourselves, day in and day out, in an effort to make a beginning that would lead eventually to a peaceful world.
What an amount of character building has to go into an effort to create a more harmonious atmosphere in a small community! The smallest community—the home—is a test of one's ability to develop self-control and to adjust to other people. As you take each step into a wider field the qualities needed for men of "goodwill" are no different, but the problems become more complicated as they reach out to a greater variety of people and to a vast area of new situations.
I think we should pray on this New Year's Day that all over the world individuals would begin to lead their lives with determination to create goodwill and that we will know this is only a beginning and not an end.
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On New Year's Eve Franklin Jr. had his usual party, which is always a matter of great excitement to the older children who are allowed to go. No one under 13 years of age is considered old enough to sit up to see the new year in. After the teens are reached, however, they may do so, and Franklin arranges a movie and we all gather together for the traditional New Year's toast "to the United States of America." My husband taught us all to make this toast as the first one on New Year's Eve.
Today, New Year's Day, I shall have open house in the afternoon to greet my friends and neighbors—as many as can come. This is a day for reminding oneself of one's obligations to others, and I think that counting one's mercies and being grateful for the many kindnesses that others have shown during the past year is a good way to begin.