Though conditions have grown puzzling in their complexity, though changes have been vast, yet we may remain absolutely sure of one thing; that now as ever in the past, and as it will ever be in-the future, there can be no substitute for elemental virtues, for the elemental qualities to which we allude when we speak of a man, not only as a good man, but as emphatically a man. We can build up the standard of individual citizenship and individual well-being, we can raise the national standard and make it what it can and shall be made, only by each of us steadfastly keeping in mind that there can be no substitute for the world-old commonplace qualities of truth, justice, and courage, thrift, industry, common sense and genuine sympathy with the fellow feelings of others.
The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent, experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it, if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
Each child represents either a potential addition to the protective capacity and enlightened citizenship of the nation or, if allowed to suffer from neglect, a potential addition to the destructive forces of a community. . . . The interests of the nation are involved in the welfare of this array of children no less than in our great material affairs.
There is a point, of course, where a man must take the isolated peak and break with all his associates for clear principle; but until that time comes he must work, if he would be of use, with men as they are. As long as the good in them overbalances the evil, let him work with them for the best that can be obtained.