Give American Youth a Chance. (Delivered to Executive Club of Chicago. 7 October 1927.)
Every man has a philosophy of life, of which he is conscious or unconscious-he ought to be conscious, as a rule, and beyond a shadow of a doubt in my address today noon, I shall say many things that I have said heretofore. I do not apologize for that. I shall be delighted to know that you can recall anything that I have said heretofore.
I insist on discussing the theme that has been announced. I discussed it last night before the Southeastern State Association of Minnesota. I shall do the same thing in South Bend, Indiana, next week, and a little later in Charleston, West Virginia. All through my Chautauqua work I discussed this subject.
You may not feel, as I do, its importance. It will be an exceedingly simple and plain talk. There will be no difficulty whatever in your understanding everything I have to say, and that you would expect to hear from a Democrat. I know there are not many Democrats here. I never lose an opportunity to offer a word of consolation to the few. They may yet leaven the loaf, you can't tell. God knows it needs to be leavened.
At the very beginning I want this splendid body of men to understand that I am not particularly alarmed over American youth today. They were not going to the devil- not all of them. There are more fathers and mothers on that road than there are children. Possibly some of you belong to that group, I don't know- I hope not.
I am not disturbed because girls bob their hair, calcimine their cheeks and shorten their skirts. It is exceedingly interesting, however.
I am disturbed a little when a grandmother will bob her hair, shorten her skirts and fool herself into thinking she is a little girl again. She has returned to infantalism and she seems to get great joy out of it.
Now, I might go back to the age of my boyhood and call attention to the ways in which my sisters and their associates dressed- quite as novel and quite as strange as modern dress, but I am not going to take the time for that. And I am not going to take the time to describe the vanity of men which, beyond a shadow of a doubt, parallels that of a woman.
I realize that conditions today are entirely different- no, not entirely, but widely different from the conditions of a half a century ago. Now, do not forget that remark, please.
I realize that the movie has come into our life; the automobile; the radio, and a thousand and one inventions, so that life today is much more difficult than was the problem of fifty years ago. Now, if you can keep that preface in mind, it will help me out a lot.
I read two statements as a sort of preface to my real address. First, from Nicholas Butler, President, Columbia University.
"The reason why Christianity no longer makes an appeal to men is that they are too prosperous."
Did it ever occur to you that there is such a thing as over-prosperity, so far as a nation's progress is concerned?
"They have discovered a new god, Comfort, and they are so concerned with worshipping him that they have no time for the God of their fathers. The modern American ideal of life seems to be to put a comfortable baby into a comfortable crib to be watched over by a comfortable nurse until it is able to go to a comfortable school. Then to send it to a comfortable college where comfortable teachers see that it does not work too much or too hard. Then to find its way into a comfortable profession; to marry a wife with a comfortable fortune; to spend twenty or thirty comfortable years; and finally to pass through a comfortable opiate to a comfortable grave."
Now if that is the situation today, there is occasion for my address.
One other sentence, and my reading is finished. This is from Hubert Work. It was published in the September number of the Tariff Review. That is a Republican sheet. That does not improve this quotation, by the way. I want you to notice the condition described by President Butler and then I want you to note how we are giving American youth a chance. There are many of you who are convinced that what I am going to read is a sure indication:
Our country is spending 2.5 billion dollars annually on education. It is not easy to think in numerical terms of the United States, but while our population in 33 years increased 95%, enrollment in colleges advanced 450%.
There is a very wide difference between education and schooling. Of course, schooling ought to be a valuable aid to education, but schooling does not furnish the fundamentals of the education that American youth are entitled to.
Now, I go back to the pioneer home. You won't like that, some of you. I was born in a pioneer home, born in a log house. I am not to be commended for that, because I did not choose my place of birth. I had to be born somewhere. I was in that log house for ten years. I was the eldest of the family. Four sisters came along in close succession, and together we will work out our childhood salvation. Just as soon as my oldest sister could wash dishes, she washed dishes, not because she wanted to- she was not a moron. She washed dishes because she had to, and so on, and so on in her acquaintance with mother in that old home.
She did not wash dishes for recreation. I have never found but one woman who said she did and I am positive she was on the verge of insanity.
What are you trying to do today, gentlemen? You are trying to take the "have to" out of the home, out of the school, out of life, and it can't be done successfully without great injury to American youth.
Just as soon as I could work, I worked. Father said, "Come," and I came. He said, "go" and I went, solely because of my intimate acquaintance with dad, that is all.
I would like to have you men that are fathers check up as I proceed. Make this a personal matter today, please, check up.
There are two factors that I have already mentioned. I am going on to extend the last one a little.
Together we cut the hay; together we spread the hay; together we planted the corn; together we hoed the corn; together we cut the corn; together we husked the corn; TOGETHER was another factor in that home.
Don't I know that factor is the most difficult factor to put into practice today in order to give American youth a chance? In those days we did not have to have a Fathers and Son's Annual Banquet in order that Father might meet his son. Do not make a mistake. I am in favor of Father and Sons' Banquets. I would have them oftener. In fact, I am enthusiastically in favor of Father and Sons' Banquets. I would have them once a month. I would have them oftener. In fact, I am enthusiastically in favor of permitting father to get acquainted with his son, and the son get acquainted with his father. I am enthusiastic over that. In my home that banquet was held 365 days in the year, three times a day.
I am struck now two fundamentals; one of obedience, and the other of work; fundament of the old pioneer home. Now, do not try to use your imaginations and bring in a lot of immaterial objections which have no place in your thought today noon. I am not advocating the same devices, I am not advocating that we use the same crude methods on the farm, nothing of the kind. I am after a fundamental life, that of obedience, and that of work.
I am not going to talk politics today. I am not going to say anything for or against the problem of the "wet" and the "dry," but if we ever do have the Constitution obeyed, if we do ever have to general and all-around observance of the law, it will have to find a place first in the American home. You can't make any short-cuts. You have got to begin at the beginning. You have got to begin where observance of law is supposed to originate.
Now, I am perfectly well aware that there are some great writers and great lecturers who are willing to stand before you and tell you that the American home is gone, but I am not disturbed by that announcement. I know if it is gone that our civilization is doomed. That much I do know as a consequence of that statement if it should ever become a truth.
Now, then, from that second point we have worked a radical change in our ways of living in the last 50 years, particularly in the last 25. Several of the other fundamentals that I am going to mention have been thrown on to the public schools. For instance, you have taken so-called domestic science and home economics out of the home and put it into the schools. They are going to stay there. There are advocates of that scheme sitting here, plenty of them, I realize that.
After all, I was delighted the other day when I read a statement from Mrs. Lowden, the wife of your ex-governor from Illinois, to find that she took particular pride in stating that she had reared her three daughters and taught them the fine art of home-making. Thank God even for an exception.
Everybody knows that the mother is the ideal teacher. Everybody knows that a woman should think many times before she enters the marriage relation to become a mother if she is incapable of directing her daughter, incapable of teaching her the fine art of housekeeping.
But it is going to stay in the public school, and we predict that for fifty per cent of the girls who receive training in the United States in domestic science and home economics, that fifty per cent of their homes are without a sewing machine; that fifty per cent of their homes are without any adequate provision for carrying out what they are taught in domestic science in the public schools, because in the public schools you have the best of appliances and apparatus, whereas in the home it is quite different, and frequently her school training alienates the daughter from the mother. This can be remedied and should be remedied.
Why not open your schools to the mothers? Why should not they know a little something about what you have to offer in your improved methods of cooking, and so forth. Do not tell me they won't come, because for 43 fathers and mothers and sons and daughters have paid their car fare, paid their board bills, and paid for their tuition and books at the Ferris Institute in order that they might get a little higher vision, get some little knowledge to support the fundamentals that they had already acquired.
Oh, the skeptics that exist nowadays who seem to entertain that fool superstition that education is only for boys and girls, that after one reaches the age of 25 or 30, education is no longer any concern to them. Education is life and begins with the first breath and closes with the last breath of a normal creature. By and by we maky wake up and have a real democracy, and give some consideration to the adults.
We are doing it, I realize that, but who is doing it? The industries are doing it. They really telling us school masters what we should do, and they are doing it splendidly too. There are, no doubt, representatives here today who can confirm what I have said along that line.
Well, I might say to you that in many cases school training has worked no special good. Where will you find the ordinary mother on Saturday? Down on her knees on the floor using the Sapolio and the brush. Where is sis who takes domestic science? She is on the front porch sitting in the hammock holding hands with her pussy willow.
Oh, we have shirked the work in the home. We have not given the American youth a chance. We have turned our work over to the public schools. But isn't it strange that in putting it in the public schools we have entertained an educational superstition based on sex. What have we got against the boys? If this school work is really educational, why under Heaven don't you give boys precisely the same training?
Some of you will sit here and think I am jesting. What would any Boy Scout Master think of his boys if they were not capable of doing much that belongs to economics and home life?
I might add, incidentally, for the benefit of some of you old bachelors that are sitting here, that if you do not in some way get a knowledge of domestic science, and you should marry, you will starve to death.
There isn't anything finer in all my experience than this illustration I am about to give. I was in Oceana County, Michigan, doing educational work throughout the county and it was Sunday night when my host, a rural school teacher, Fisher by name, took me to his home, said to me, "You will have to get up early tomorrow morning. Breakfast will be ready at half past three." I was up and breakfast was ready. We had a breakfast that was a delight to me and I think it would be now if I needed a breakfast. And after we had gotten the sleigh ready to start for the train I turned around to see a clothes line heavily laden with a beautiful wash. I said, "Fisher, explain that line of clothes. It was not there last night when we came in." "Well," he said, "you noticed that Mother was not at breakfast. Mother was sleeping. I did the washing this morning, and I shall get back in time before I go to my school to remove the clothes from the line if they are dry, and they probably will be, and if necessary I shall do the ironing. My brothers and sisters and I owe everything that we are to Mother, and Mr. Ferris, it is the delight of my life to render her some substantial service."
Do you see anything very startling about that? Isn't there something beautiful about it? Why is it in our attempts to educate American youth, why is it that we should draw the line of sex?
Then again we have manual training to the public schools in giving American youth a chance. I would say, men and women, if that meant that John hurried home after he had manual training, and fixed up the broken cupboard in the kitchen, or rendered some little help to mother or father, I would say "Amen" and "Amen," but it is done for quite a different purpose. The real spirit of the thing is wanting. It is for exhibition purposes largely. Use up good lumber, employ costly teachers and have a costly equipment.
But there is a great idea in manual training, one of the greatest in the whole educational system, because scientists have come to this conclusion: man owes his superiority over lower animals by virtue of his brain and his hands. All of the inventions of the last 75 years, and they are greater than all of those of all time before the last 75 years, are the product of the brain and his hands.
I drove the nail on the farm because it needed to be driven. A lot of nails are driven nowadays that do not need to be driven. I learned to use the ordinary tools because I had to, and because it was help on the farm. We worked together.
I do not recognize the value of manual training. But what have we got against the girls? They have brains, no question at all about it. That has been satisfactorily demonstrated, and you have a speaker now for your Club that will prove to you that she is the revised edition.
I am serious about these matters. I recognize manual training for its educational value, not for its value in securing a job. But I suppose that I will have been dead a long time before school boards and before school men will dare to give American youth a chance, all of American youth instead of half of them.
But the most serious criticism that I have to make is in regard to shirking your work in the home, is the matter of teaching thrift. Before I went on the platform last week I chanced to pick up the Winona Herald of Winona, Minnesota. I think that was the name of it. I know it was Republican, all right, and I noticed that in that city of 17 or 18 thousand that this year the children had put into the banking department of the school, $24,000, and, of course, everybody is delighted, everybody in Winona is giving American youth a chance.
No doubt in Chicago you have the same thing prevailing. I know you have. In my little city of 5,000, when the superintedent of schools came and said, "I like you, you are an educator, you are President of the Big Rapids Savings Bank. Will you take this work in charge and turn the teachers in paying and receiving tellers and have them collect the penny and nickel and the dime and thus every pupil will have a bank account?" I said, "No. I still have sufficient self-respect to decline your offer."
Fine advertisement for my competitor. There is nothing finer for a bank to contemplate for the boys and girls- a lazy, make-shift method on the part of fathers and mothers who did not learn thrift in any such way, and no boy or girl, unless you make an exception, ever can learn thrift in that way. And we are carrying it to the point where we penalize a child who can't bring his penny. That is American democracy, is it?
Well, I suppose there are bankers here, I hope there are. I like to give them a little advice and a few suggestions. It is one of the most serious things in American life, and it is one place where we are absolutely responsible as father sand mothers for the consequences of the lack of thrift. But I know that when you estimate thrift by savings bank deposits, you have some little evidence of what is called thrift, but that is not the kind of thrift I am talking about. There are a whole lot of people in this world today that have not a dollar in the savings bank who are practicing thrift, so your savings bank deposits do not necessarily prove thrift for the boys and girls that I want to train in thrift.
Thrift involves earning the nickel of dime or half dollar. Will you please get that? That is the way you begin. What have you got against your boy? Second, spending a portion of the nickel, dime or dollar. Third, saving a portion of it. If you know of any man in this country who has not a millionaire's son to start with- and few of them remain millionaires, and I say that kindly and courteously - if you know of any man or group of men who have not followed the speaker's definition of thrift, tell me today. I will stay over an extra day to get the information.
I repeat: Earn the nickel, the dime, the dollar; spend a portion of the nickel, the dime, or the dollar; save a portion of the nickel, dime or dollar.
And yet if I could turn the x-ray on you, the majority of you men in the last month, have given away for the asking of the quarter, the half dollar, the dollar and the five dollars, and you actually are laboring under the misapprehension that you are giving your part of American youth a chance. Not on your life. Not on your life.
Dad never gave me a nickel in his life. At his death nothing came to me because the seven children were gracious to go a step beyond him, a big step beyond him, and say, "Mother is entitled to every nickel and dime that he leaves."
I know what you say: I wouldn't want such a father as that. Neither did I. I did not pick out my father, and you did not pick out your father. You did just exactly as I did. You took anything that came along, and they do have a way of coming along, even in the twentieth century. I am mighty glad he came along. Don't you for one moment think he was unkind. He tried the experiment, I may be personal, of being a little more generous toward Boy Number Two, fifteen years my junior. Father did not live long enough, and I am glad of that, to witness the tragedy of Boy Number Two, for which he was indirectly responsible. He did not give Seymour, my brother, a chance.
I will tell you what he gave me. It was a thousand times more valuable than nickels and dimes and half dollars and five dollar bills. He gave me an opportunity to earn nickels and dimes. Get that, men. Get it men. God pity you who have sons and daughters who never earn a nickel or a dime or a quarter. You are helping to breed paramonial from that son or daughter later in life. You are going to get something else.
I shall never forget the Baptist Deacon who lived on the next farm. He came up one evening and said, "John,"- that is my father-"Can you come and hoe corn tomorrow?" Of course, you men do not know anything about hoeing corn in Chicago, and you can call my tale a fairy story if you like. You wouldn't call it a fairy story if you lived in Tioga Coutny, New York, and tried to raise corn. Father said, "I will be there." "Will you bring your boy?" "He can come if he wants to." Oh, he was not unkind. If I did not want the money I needn't go, and I know that there was no other way to get the money except to go.
I was there and hoed corn all day, hoed just as much corn as father and the Deacon, so they said: and just as well, so they said. At the end of the day the Deacon paid father a dollar and gave me a half dollar. For sixty years I have thought about that transaction. I have wondered whether he over-paid dad or under-paid me.
But you Chicagoans can find parallels to that. I hope it is not in your own experience. The Baptist Deacon is dead. I think I know where he is.
When I spent any money and made a mistake and came around with tears flowing down my face, father did not say, "I will make it up to you."
Are you checking up as I go along?
He said, "You will learn by and by. You will learn by and by. You will learn by and by." I did not make any reply. I did not care to go to the hospital.
He was the best kind of father a boy could have, and particularly when you recognize the blood that runs through the veins of the Ferris tribe. I am not going to say too much about that because an astrologer have recently prophesied that I have 22.5 years to live. Think of what the Republicans of Michigan must think that they have coming to them. I can stir them up for a long time to come, and God knows they need it. I hope there is somebody over here in Illinois who can administer some form of antiseptic. Probably it could be used to advantage in the City of Chicago where you are busy trying to throw a school superintendent out of office. In Chicago to you should give American youth a chance.
Pay tribute to the symbol if you do not anything else. That is one thing that is the matter with America; symbols, symbols like the professional man of Big Rapids that I told you about. Twenty years ago I said to him one day jokingly: "Doc, why don't you tell the truth?" "Tell the truth? Why," he said, "I lie like the devil to tell the truth." One of the most wonderful philosophical statements I have ever heard in all my life. That is what we are busy about, lying like the devil to tell the truth, lying like the devil to make things look like the truth. It won't wash.
Oh a great many of you have made sacrifices beyond reason in order to get the boy through college. You have an idea that is the way to give American youth a chance. Not at all without a foundation. There are too many today in our colleges, too many in our universities, too many in our high schools, and in Chicago and Detroit and elsewhere you have men that feel that they are philanthropists because they are making provision for young men and young women to go through college.
Any able bodied American boy, any able bodied American girl, that can't go through college without borrowing a dollar of dad, or of uncle, ought not to got to college, as a rule. The physically handicapped are in a different class. If I had my way about it every class of graduates hereafter in America from the high school would go out for one year and earn their food and clothing and shelter, and they should be able to do so with 12 years of public school training that was really educating them along the lines I have designated.
A good many people say, "I wouldn't dare try that test." No. You would not have to send John to college if you tried it, and you would save money, and best of all, you would save John.
But my friends, Nicholas Butler know what he was talking about. He knows that many of our colleges and universities are continuous summer vacations. Millions of dollars for stadiums, millions of dollars for athletics. Do I fight athletics? No. Not athletics for the student body. We are paying extravagantly for educational substitutes, winning football games without winning games legitimately in the field of intelligence.
I put a higher value on intelligence than I do on football expertness. I was not very greatly disturbed by the fight you had in Chicago recently. I did not pay any attention to it. I was not interested in that sort of thing. What little interest I had, occurred when I was a young man, and when I employed my own means of defense. I believed in that. I am an advocate of that. 150,000 in the audience, I am told. Tow and a half million dollars for admission. That doesn't worry me at all. I don't know for whose benefit it was given. I can't imagine wherein Chicago will be a better city to live in. Possibly it will. God knows it ought to be.
Do you know what that fight meant to me? A symptom, that is all, of American ideals. I make no further comment; I do not have to. A symptom. We are what we like, as a rule. A pretty good psychological law. I know I have many friends here who were there, and they will go again, I suppose. What did you get out of it? Are you better today then you were two weeks ago? Wherein has anyone benefited? Think it over.
Let us get back to our fundamentals. I had a class of 300 graduating from Ferris Institute last July and August. I was curious to know something about their education. I knew they had gotten their marks. I knew they had "got by." Isn't that a beautiful term? That is a college term. Do you business men appreciate it: "got by?" And then five years from that time there is not a trace of that staying in the mind of that splendid boy of yours, not a trace. And you are responsible. You have heaped on the universities and colleges your work, and you are going to pay an awful price for it.
You do not suppose, do you, that men enjoy participating in stickups? You do not mean to say that they enjoy shooting down their fellow men? It is the money they want, and what the money will give them in the way of pleasure. Well, it is perfectly obvious that the more American boys and girls we give a chance under the line of the old fundamentals of life, the less crime we will have. That is what a young boy from Bay City said to me when he presented his credentials from Leavenworth prison. Do you get it?
Ferris Institute has no academic requirement. It is the only institution that I know of in America, a great secondary school recognized by higher schools that demands no examination academically, and I stand here in Chicago where your great university is and I say that every state institution ought to admit every man and woman who can do the work he or she elects in that institution satisfactorily. That is democratic, and anything less is undemocratic and unfair. These men that represent these institutions know it, and you men know it, and why don't you say so.
When the Ferris Institute puts up the bars, I am out, and if I am in Heaven I will come back to haunt them if they do. Some of you say: how do I know I am going to Heaven? Because I am a Democrat, that is why I know it. In Michigan, we get no rewards in this life and the good God has promised us rewards according to our deeds, and therefore we know where we are going. Where the Republicans are going, I will not say. They may change.
The home is the only institution that can give the boys and girls of America, those fundamentals of obedience, of regular work, of thrift, of self-reliance, self-denial, self-sacrifice, integrity, sobriety, virtue and loyalty. Oh, there are other qualities but these are enough for you to think about.
Give American youth a chance. The home must do. Stop making yourself believe and fooling yourself in believing the high school can do it. You are simply adding to the difficulties of the high school. Or that it lies with the college. You encumber the college. Or that it lies with the university. You embarrass the university.
There are thousands of American youths in the university who should come home and be directed toward some useful walks in life, and you know it now. Now, do not misunderstand. There is a time to help a boy in college and in university, but I can't discuss that. I discourage these institutions that loan money. I know something about that too.
I really should stop right this minute, but I have to present you with an illustration of an American young man who was given a chance. You are all acquainted with him. The people of the United States are better acquainted with this young man than with any other young man in the United States. And do you know my heart beat just a little faster when I found the recognition he received. But I do not commend Col. Lindbergh for the reason that some other men will stand up and commend him. I do not care anything about his exploit. I do not care about his crossing the Atlantic, so far as the crossing is concerned. I do not care anything in particular about the functioning of the airplane. I do not care anything in particular about the Twentieth Century train. I do not care anything in particular about carrying the mail by airplane. The letters I write might just as well get there in five days as one, and most of your letters in the same way. I do not have a bit of enthusiasm over getting a letter from here to San Francisco many hours sooner than I could by the ordinary train.
We are just crazy over superficialities. Is it not a beautiful illustration of the functions of the twentieth century when a man will pay several dollars more to get into New York a few hours than earlier than he otherwise would, and then he walks down through the train looking for two or three men to cards with him so he can kill three or four hours of the precious time before he gets into New York? Isn't it sublime? He has the brain of a Shakespeare.
I tell you what concerns me with the Twentieth Century: what it carries. What I am concerned with about the airplane is the kind of letters it carries. This mania for eliminating time and then actually throwing away many times the time in our diversion and so on. Think of it! Isn't it beautiful?
Of course, I did not like the old method when father said, "Did you wash your face, boy?" "No." "Well you wash your face before you sit down to the table." I did not think that he was unkind. You would not think that if you could have looked at my face. I had to go out the back way, grab a handful of soap, and break a little hole through the ice of the creek, and wash my face, and I sad some prayers and wondered if I would always have to do that, but confidentially, I got along very nicely. Take struggle out of life; and what will you have left. Nothing in the way of gain.
Struggle. Why don't' you give your boy a chance? What have you got against him? What do you want to do with all that foolishness? You say, "When I was a boy I had a hard row to hoe, and if I ever became a father, I will soften the road." That is it. In other words, you say, "I will not give the boy the chance I have had."
A man from Grand Rapids came to me one summer and brought his boy and said, "Here is my boy." He was eighteen years of age, handsomely dressed, and had very pleasing manners. He said, "Mother and I have failed, and we brought him up here." I said, "Been to the high school in Grand Rapids?" "Yes." "Fell down?" "Yes." "What have you done?" "Given him all the money he wants?" "Yes." "Given him all the automobile rides he wanted?" "Yes, and the automobile thrown in." "Given him everything?" "Yes." "Up until two o'clock in the morning, went home, and mother would get up in the morning and take him a poached egg on toast and then write a lie at noon-time that he boy was ill and could not be there in the fore-noon?" "Yes."
I said, "Take him back. You ask me to reverse his home training." I can't do it. Well, he said, "I am going to leave him anyway." He was home in six weeks. The father met me some weeks afterwards and he said, "Ride with me a little way." He said, "my boy is coming out all right. I sent him to Howe Military School. He has been converted in religion, and he is doing his work, and he is coming out all right." I said, "I congratulate you. The Ferris Institute could not do it."
Six months later I ran across him again. He did not see me so quickly as he did before, but I saw him and I insisted on riding with him for a little way. I said. "Where is the son?" "I don't know where in hell he is."
You will have to excuse this language. I do not suppose you ever hear anything of this kind in Chicago. I am just quoting a Republican. "He can't live in my home any longer." There was a father who had ruined his own son, and had not given him a chance.
Well, let's get back to Lindbergh. I sat there at the banquet in Grand Rapids. I was privileged to be at the speaker's table. I do not know how they happened to think of me, but I was there. Maybe they were looking into the future, I don't know. I was there.
My faith in the possibilities of American youth under my philosophy rose a hundred per cent. There stood a young man. He did not make a long speech, nothing like what I have done here. Six feet tall, more or less, clean, modest, self-controlled. Will some man in this audience name one of the fundamentals I have named here that Lindbergh did not possess? Did you ever hear of his having a liaison with some women to get on the front page of the paper? That is the short way. Never. Did you ever hear about his life at college? Did you ever hear of his indulging in some of the college pranks whereby two or three thousand dollars worth of state property is destroyed on behalf of education of American youth? Well, I hope that there will be more schools established for the feeble minded. We need them for such fathers who advocate destructive college pranks.
He did not graduate from college. Very likely he is sorry he did not. He was a thinker. He was the embodiment, the incarnation of every fundamental I have named here that American youth is entitled to.
Where was the mother when Colonel Lindbergh was in the skies? Oh, I love an American mother of a son like Lindbergh. I have a notion that when I have a splendid boy in my school-I have lots of splendid boys and splendid girls- I never fail to think and say: "May I have the pleasure some day of seeing your mother?" Because it is a biological fact that you can get along with almost anything for a father. You have to got to have a good mother. There was Mrs. Lindbergh at the same table. Decked in diamonds? In pearls? No, she didn't need them. They are not fundamental. And yet I can't walk down Michigan Avenue without seeing those things that are supposed to be fundamentals that even the lower animals would discard if they could be conscious of how they looked.
A costly hat? No. Substantial, plain. Costly gown, showy gown? No, modest.
And then I looked at the two, mother and son. What is Mrs. Lindbergh going to do next year? Teach in the public schools of Detroit. Going to be useful; going to help carry out my philosophy in giving American youth a chance. She knows by experience that what I have said is true. She has lived it, and so have you, the majority of you. That is the pathetic part of it, that you won't give your own sons a chance; that you won't give your daughters a chance.
If I had the time I would tell you the story of a millionaire's boy that is now in my school, the first one in 43 years that has spontaneously tried to earn a dollar for himself. But that can be explained if you knew his grandfather: the "Corn Flake Man." No, W.K. Kellogg has traveled the road. I, the bookkeeper, one summer checked up when he was drawing eight dollars a week, and I suppose you will say, "What a fool." Not on your life. One day he said, "I, want to buy that one food product you are making." Dr. John Kellogg, his employer, said, "all right." You know W.K. of today, I presume. I do not need to make any comment.
That training, that self denial, self-sacrifice, the constant watch, has made him a millionaire- not that is necessarily worth while.
And then thank God they could not auction off Lindbergh. The Literary Digest recently said if he accepted all overtures he would have six million dollars. Thank God, we have one American that can't be bought. He will never get to the United States Senate.
All honor to Lindbergh. Who are we here not to be glad to find in your son the elements that characterize Lindbergh? I say, "amen and amen." May it be your good fortune to give your boys and girls a chance.