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Newspaper Page Text
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THE "BAD" BOY IS ONLY THE fi OY WHO HASNT HAD A CHANCt,
DECLARES JACK ROBBINS
BY JANE WHITAKER
The psychology of boys! How pitifully few of us understand it To
most of us boys are just ever-hungry, tousled-head, freckle-face creatures,
usually mischievous, and sometimes bad. And if they are good their
mothers and fathers approve, and if they are bad their mothers and fathers
and society feel personally affronted.
Jack Robbins, the Big Brother of "chanceless boys," is a student of the
psychology of boys. To him there are no "bad"boys. That is, every boy
who does something that society condemns does it because society itself
is to blame.
And Jaok Robbins is an authority, for 'he has loved and guided and
helped "chanceless" boys for more than eleven years past and has handled
several hundred of them.
I tried to get him to admit that the boy who murders must be a menace
'toociety, but be just questioned mysincere interest in the subject
"Every boy has. a streak of savagery," he saidhalf defiantly. "And the
boy who murders is the boy who feels that the world is against him and he
is against the world. There isn't any one to chum with him and care about
the things he cares for, but there is some force to drive him on to savagery
hunger, or loneliness, or fear, and boys who murder in that moment of
savagery oiten and usually have big ,
nearts tnat hunger for understanding
and companionship that would have
saved them from the moment of sav
"Mothers pay more attention to the
dirt on the hands and face of a boy
than they do to what is in his brain or
heart," he continued. "They do not
study the boy, they usually punish
him. You have got to study a boy."
And then he showed me a letter
from a wee laddie of only 13, and it
was a letter so full of affection and
loyalty and heart-hunger that it
brought a lump in my throat.
"That is a boy that seemed to go
'bad' in a week," JacksRobbins, told
me. "He went out on Saturday night
and shot at some gas globes. His
mother said she was afraid 'of him
and she threatened to have him ar
rested. ' That is- a mistake. A court scene
kills a boy. It takes the dignity away
from him when you call a patrol wag
on. This boy was arrested Wednes
day night when, with some other
boys, he held up a store. .
"I appealed to the judge for him
and told the judge that it would be
a shame to send him to a reforma-
tory.-and inasmuch as he was Jewish
he would be so much better, oa! in a
Jewish home, and the judge agreeel
"It isn't hard to win the confidence
of a boy if you really are his friend.
Sometimes it takes longer than oth
ers, sometimes it has taken me three
or four weeks and sometimes five
"I just get him by himself, and I
say, 'Kid, what's-the trouble?' I don't
scold him, he's had enough of that
We just talk it over like brothers an
if he gets a chance that boy will exert
every power in himself to make me
proud of him.
"You have heard about the 'Last
Chance Camp' we have in Nevada?
There are eleven boys there now,
eleven that society calls 'bad boys'
because they have been arrested sev
eral times, but they are living put
there, taking care of themselves and .
'finding themselves, just because
they got another chance." .
Then he showed me a letter from
a boy who is a "lifer" because he
murdered an Italian woman who sup- -prised
him when, hungry, he was
robbing' a store.