Just a week ago, we had the joy of welcoming a young couple with a sweet little baby to our home.
As I was making a fuss over the baby, the young mother told me my optimism and enthusiasm was exactly what she needed to hear. Just the night before, at an older woman’s birthday party, this woman had chastised her and her husband for bringing a baby in to this world at such a volatile time.
I asked how old this woman was. Since it was her birthday party, they were aware of her age – she had turned 73.
A world of volatility. Hmm … this means that the woman had been born in 1932. Not exactly a glorious year in world history.
She grew up during the years of incredible volatility throughout the world. Then, as now, the world was filled with uncertainties, fueled by the acts of reprehensible characters.
Nazi aggressions in Europe during the 1930s brought about an entirely new vocabulary.
Blitzkrieg tactics, which brought most of western Europe under German control by November of 1940, prompted such things as the 1940 Executive Agreement, the 1941 “Four Freedoms Speech” followed by the “Lend-Lease Act” and the U.S. involvement in the “Battle of the Atlantic.”
Lived through Depression. America was battling the Great Depression the very year this woman was born.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt led the country and addressed issues of public concern with his fireside chats. He urged Congress to pass “must legislation” as he guided them through “The Hundred Days” from March to June of 1933 during which time Congress passed more than 15 major pieces of New Deal legislation, hoping to help stem the tide of panic.
By 1937, with things looking up, the U.S. economy had recovered to near 1929 levels, but unemployment remained high and the world was reeling with news coming out of Europe.
No one would have called this a joyous time, but an era in which to find the strength to keep persevering onward.
At Roosevelt’s urging, Congress pumped billions into renewed work relief programs such as the WPA and subsidies to farmers. But Congress was becoming weary of the costly New Deal. Roosevelt accepted the turning tide, and began focusing on the impending war.
Fast forward. Terrorists and their horrific tactics give us all pause. The world has never been a perfect place, and as long as humans are running things, it never will be.
But we must find a way to keep it in perspective. We need to encourage the youth among us, and work together to keep hope alive.
As for me, I’ll continue to find joy in a baby’s bright eyes and unassuming smile, knowing any one of these little people might help to change the world.
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