I have been an American now for eight years. I was born in a small town in Italy. I cannot separate from my personal philosophy my feeling about my new country. For me, America has always meant strength, enormous vitality, unlimited faith in the future. Lately I have been troubled to see these things made little by timidity and pessimism. This challenges my beliefs.
Last year, my first child, a son, was born. He is an American and he is going to grow up in a free world of many exciting things, and I want fear to be alien to him. I am trying to set him an example. Every year I travel back to Europe to visit relatives and friends. This year I shall have the added pleasure of traveling with my son. I expect that my family will find him quite large for his age and, perhaps, a trifle naughty. For my son is a very fearless little animal, who is well nourished and much loved. He is not accustomed to the words “don’t” and “mustn’t,” and I imagine his first spoken word will be, “Why?”
I think my son is the kind of child he is because he feels loved, he feels very much part of a family. In his own way, he knows that he is not alone. Well then, I must cultivate this same healthy feeling myself, to have an optimistic and confident outlook toward life. Community life, I think, is the key. But really, I don’t think I personally appreciated how much it meant until the birth of my own son. Since then, I have come to regard it as my way of saying, “Yes, I have confidence in the future and that’s why together we are planning and working to provide for that future. Now with a child of my own, I look forward to the future with more happiness, more enthusiasm than ever before.
Today, like any woman, I could wish for a much more tranquil world in which to bring up my child, but I have always believed what comes, comes. Yet, if out of uncertainties of the present I can draw closer to my neighbor and if by our combined efforts we make each other feel part of a proud national family, then I believe we will whip fear, the sickness of our generation, the sickness which threatens positive personal beliefs.
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