Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some excerpts from
The "Cotton-Lined" Nest

This is an eight-page leaflet that was published in October 19571 by the College of Agriculture's Extension Service at Rutgers. The full title is "The 'Cotton-Lined' Nest, How It Can Smother Youth's Independence."

The author is Phyllis Page Bradshaw, an Associate Extension Specialist in Human Relations. A quick Google search reveals that some of her other titles included "Juvenile Delinquency", "Fear!", "Developing Responsibility", "Understanding Discipline", and "The Green-Eyed Monster" -- a short treatise on jealousy.

Some excerpts from this leaflet:
  • "Parents find great pleasure in the achievements of their child during his preschool years. They delight in his ability to stand and walk and are extremely proud of his first words. However, parents do not always realize that these are the first steps toward independence and toward leaving the 'cotton-lined' nest."
  • "The danger of the 'cotton-lined' nest is that when parents keep the child dependent, he is trapped there. His physical, social, and emotional growth suffers, and by the time the preschool years are over, the child has not reached the stage of development comparable to his years."
  • "Some parents believe that childhood is the time for all play and no responsibility. Other parents may hold back their child through a misguided sense of protected him from the hurts of life. In both instances, the parents are keeping the child in his 'cotton-lined' nest."
  • "The years of adolescence are long. Through outside circumstances the young person is kept dependent. Labor laws and compulsory school attendance keep adding years that prolong dependence. The stress on a college education with additional years of training for specialization continue to prolong the time when the young person can be economically independent and earn his own living."
Questions: Who was the audience for this college leaflet? Was it made available for young parents as a public service? Did it serve as a quick guide for college sociology or psychology students? Or was Phyllis Page Bradshaw just churning out dry but informative leaflets as part of cushy government job?

Indeed, the bottom of the front of the pamphlet states: "Distributed in Cooperation with U.S. Department of Agriculture in Furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics, L.G. Cook, Associate Director"

Hmmm. I sure wouldn't mind a government job writing pamphlets. Or perhaps I could be Associate Blogging Director of the National Ephemera Archives.

1. In this month, the Milwaukee Braves defeated the New York Yankees, 4 games to 3, in the World Series. Hank Aaron, age 23, batted .393 with three home runs and seven RBIs for the Braves.
2. And, in 1914, the Boston Braves swept the Philadelphia Athletics in the first four-game sweep in World Series history. Gettysburg native and Hall of Famer Eddie Plank was a member of that Athletics team, which had a rotation that was even better than the Phillies' 2011 rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt and Vance Worley but -- like this year's Phillies -- wound up with nothing to show for it. And that concludes today's unnecessary and, frankly, gratuitous baseball footnotes.

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