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Ellen Goodman -
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If there's a single message passed down from each generation of American parents to their children, it is a two-word line: Better Yourself. And if there's a temple of self-betterment in each town, it is the local school. We have worshiped there for some time.
We want our children to fit in and to stand out. We rarely address the conflict between these goals.
I suppose we make kids the repository of our highest ideals because children are powerless. In that way we can have ideals and ignore them at the same time.
The average parent may, for example, plant an artist or fertilize a ballet dancer and end up with a certified public accountant. We cannot train children along chicken wire to make them grow in the right direction. Tying them to stakes is frowned upon, even in Massachusetts.
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The accumulation of skill and science which has been directed to diminish the difficulty of producing manufactured goods, has not been beneficial to that country alone in which it is concentrated distant kingdoms have participated in its advantages.
April 11, 1941
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