We must realize that young people today are torn between the traditions of the past and the uncertainties of the future. A way of life that guided the conduct of older generations has broken down and it is very unlikely that it will be restored.
Disillusionment is a phase through which we all pass in one way or another. Children today must live in a world their parents have never known.
Today millions of young people face a future that offers no encouragement for effort and no reward for merit. Education insures no preferment, ability creates no security; the foundations of honesty and integrity have been undermined by the pressures of a perverted profit system.
The present youth crisis is more than a temporary emergency. This condition cannot solve itself. The answer must be found in an intelligent and farseeing program of industrial and social planning.
Today the nation’s most important asset, our youth, continues to remain unrepresented. Unorganized and unemployed, it is rapidly approaching dangerous crises, and stands in desperate need of wise and sympathetic direction.
America’s youth is the helpless victim of industrial feudalism. The energy, courage and vision of youth can support the progress of the world, yet it is denied a place in the sun. No provision has been made to insure a square deal to the young people of America; no hero has come forth to champion their cause before a self-centered generation.
For the most part their problems are unconsidered, their needs unanalyzed, and their future unassured. The miseries, uncertainties and disillusionments of past decades are overshadowing and oppressing the new generations.
Can America afford to ignore the psychological force and constructive energy of its young people?
In a few years the older generation, with its plots and spoils, must pass away. Instead of battling the feudal lords of industry and finance, secure in their high places, leave them to the inevitable ravages of time. If these hard-set men who think only in terms of success, and whose only emotion is love of power, cannot be reformed, we need not despair. What men cannot change, nature will remove in due time.
Why not educate the younger generation to a different standard of life and action? Let’s invest every resource of the nation, if necessary, in equipping youth to rule the world of tomorrow more wisely than age is ruling it today.
The vast sums now being expended for relief are only taking care of an imminent problem. The fundamental psychology of the country must be changed. If we can change our attitude from that of rapacious greed to one of national pride and solidarity, then the root of the problem has been touched
If we can prevent the younger generation from being corrupted by the old selfish codes which perverted our father’s time the death rate will bring a natural end to the Age of greed.
The man who is fed today is hungry tomorrow.
Is it not more extravagant for a nation to assume economic responsibility for millions of indigent persons that to finance a program, which will eventually render charity unnecessary?
One of the greatest fallacies in our viewpoint is that we try to reform adult delinquents, striving to cure people of innate selfishness when they are too old and set to change.
Let us then try to straighten the bent twig than the inclined tree.
Under our present industrial system the employment of the millions of unemployed is practically impossible. The country must be prepared to make drastic changes in its economic system or else be satisfied to support for years to come the millions of people who are permanently crowded out of industry. The better alternative is to build for the future, to look forward 10 or 20 years instead of at our noses.
As no plan has yet been attempted which solves the basic cause of unemployment, it would seem the vital issue of the hour is the discovery of some method to preserve the integrity and self-respect for our coming generations.
We must make our young people a part of the nation is a new and thrilling way, from the first day of school until they finally emerge into their own life. They must be led to realize that they are important and necessary. The psychology of helping themselves and at the same time others will give them enthusiasm and dignity.
Youth is probably the most vulnerable element in the psychology of the American people. No one can attack youth’s right to life, liberty, and happiness without exposing their own intolerance and inhumanity.
The sentiments, higher emotions and ideals of people are never drawn out and played upon and that is why they are so seldom expressed in national life.
At the present time, nearly every country of the world is in serious difficulties. We hear continuing reports of conferences and summit meeting to arbitrate the feuds and dilemmas of nations, communities and – for that matter – private lives. The old traditional ways of solving disagreements between countries are over worked and have virtually no effect.
There are forebodings of further probable disasters, and the citizens of the various political structures are on the verge of revolution. Up until now there seems to be no comprehensive approach for successfully dealing with even one of the impending catastrophes.
Why not face the facts and study the historical and psychological conditions, which are responsible for practically all of the tragedies that have befallen the world over the last, several thousand years?
I think there is constructive hope in the idea of a complete educational overhaul, no only encompassing the classroom but also including the standard reference books on the critical events that have distinguished and disfigured the planet for a long time.
The concept now seems to center on the importance of reconstruction of the public school system so that young people are better informed about the great social problems we have inherited from the past.
Democratic commonwealth can never be legislated into existence. Nor can it result from treaties or conferences. This is clearly indicated in the failure of the United Nations. They have failed to prevent war because the nations, which make up the union, lack courage of high conviction; they failed the very institution, which they themselves established.
Permanent progress results from education, and not from legislation. The true purpose of education is to inform the mind in basic truths concerning conduct and the consequences of conduct. Education is not merely fitting the individual for the problems of economic survival.
No human being who is moved to actions through wrong motivation, or misuses the privileges of his times, can be regarded as educated, regardless of the amount of formal schooling he received.
Civilization after civilization has been built up by human courage and destroyed by human ignorance. We stand again on the threshold of great decision.
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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