The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 80 pages of information about The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets.
This statement, of course, does not hold good concerning a large number of children in every crowded city quarter who may be classed as degenerates, the children of careless or dissolute mothers who fall into all sorts of degenerate habits and associations before childhood is passed, who cannot be said to have “gone wrong” at any one moment because they have never been in the right path even of innocent childhood; but the statement is sound concerning thousands of girls who go to and from work every day with crowds of young men who meet them again and again in the occasional evening pleasures of the more decent dance halls or on a Sunday afternoon in the parks.

The mothers who are of most use to these normal city working girls are the mothers who develop a sense of companionship with the changing experiences of their daughters, who are willing to modify ill-fitting social conventions into rules of conduct which are of actual service to their children in their daily lives of factory work and of city amusements.  Those mothers, through their sympathy and adaptability, substitute keen present interests and activity for solemn warnings and restraint, self-expression for repression.  Their vigorous family life allies itself by a dozen bonds to the educational, the industrial and the recreational organizations of the modern city, and makes for intelligent understanding, industrial efficiency and sane social pleasures.

By all means let us preserve the safety of the home, but let us also make safe the street in which the majority of our young people find their recreation and form their permanent relationships.  Let us not forget that the great processes of social life develop themselves through influences of which each participant is unconscious as he struggles alone and unaided in the strength of a current which seizes him and bears him along with myriads of others, a current which may so easily wreck the very foundations of domesticity.

CHAPTER III

THE QUEST FOR ADVENTURE

A certain number of the outrages upon the spirit of youth may be traced to degenerate or careless parents who totally neglect their responsibilities; a certain other large number of wrongs are due to sordid men and women who deliberately use the legitimate pleasure-seeking of young people as lures into vice.  There remains, however, a third very large class of offenses for which the community as a whole must be held responsible if it would escape the condemnation, “Woe unto him by whom offenses come.”  This class of offenses is traceable to a dense ignorance on the part of the average citizen as to the requirements of youth, and to a persistent blindness on the part of educators as to youth’s most obvious needs.

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The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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