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Newspaper Page Text
TELL YOUR GIRL YOU TRUST HER GOODNESS
EVEN WHEN SHE IS SEEKING "LIFE"
BY JANE WHITAKER
"I have a daughter who is very
hard to control She goes out a great
deal and every time with another fel
low whom she hardly knows. They
visit cabarets and come home at late
hours. If I say anything she simply
answers that she will move else
where, where she can have freedom.
Of course, this is a thing I want to
avoid, for I fear for her future.
"My daughter recently celebrated
her 18th birthday and is earning $8 a
week. Can I stop her from leaving
my house? Am I not responsible for
her? A worried father."
The secret of the need of that let
ter lies in the single statement that
the girl is 18, for that is the age
when girls do foolish things, when
they feel that they are wiser than
their parents, when, they listen more
to the flattery of a callow youth of
the same age or a little older than
to the common sense word of caution
that mother or father speaks.
It is the time when the bright
lights lure; it is the spring of a girl's
life. The whole longing of her is
directed toward the admiration of
men, the laughter of her kind, the ex
citement of the unknown, the risky
little so-called smart things.
But because it is the age of all of
that, it is not necessarily the age of
moral folly, or, as parents express it,
the ruin of the girl. It is merely the
age during which parents have most
to suffer and most to tolerate and
receive less gratitude and less real
return than at any time previous or
after this period of youth's folly,
which usually lasts a year or two.
The girl herself does not under
stand why she is so rebellious of re
straint She is merely conscious of
the overwhelming desire within her
Parents make two mistakes at that
time They do not make sure that
the girl understands just what things
she needs to know for her protection
and then rely on the innate good
ness of her, and they do not try suf
ficiently hard to understand her.
They have forgotten the things they
themselves did at this period of their (
lives and look upon the girl as un
natural and lacking filial obedience.
My own "time of craze for life" is
not so far behind me that I cannot
well remember the foolist things I
did. I remember my eager desires
for the admiration of callow boys I
called "men," and my feverish desire
But my mother was wise. She had
my father talk to me of all the little
pitfalls into which my feet might
stumble, and then she said to me,"
realizing she could not control me:
"I might wish, since you are my
big girl, that you would obey me. I
feel I have lived through the period
you are entering and am able to ad- ;
vise you against your silliness. But
since you will not listen I want to
tell you one thing that you may carry
it in your memory wherever your
foolish little desires may take you:
"You are my big girl. I love you
very much, but most of all I trust
you absolutely. No matter how I
may worry over your physical safety,
I willalways know that regardless of
how often you come home late at
night, you will always be able to look
into my eyes without shame."
No, it did not make me stop in my
foolish desire for "life," but it did
this: It made me actively conscious
that my mother trusted me and proud ' ("
of that trust and when the period of
my folly passed, as it does with every ' '
girl, I went to mother and said, frank
ly: "I've been an idiot and I'm sorry,
but I'm through now. Will you take
me back for your big girl again?"
Of course she did mothers and
fathers are like that, but in all of my
life I have had one knowledge that "