National Geographic : 1924 Jun
C LUCKY boys and girls-graduating this month! Born lucky because God gave them fathers and mothers who have the love, the courage and the financial ability to see that their children are properly educated. It is hard to believe that any father could care so little about the future of his children that he would let them give up school and go to work too soon if he could possibly prevent it. And yet, right here in the United States where children are supposed to be better cared for than anywhere else in the world, there are more than i,ooo,ooo children between the ages of o1and 16 at work-many of them laboring at health-wreck ing and mind-dwarfing drudgery in factories, mines, shops and mills, on farms and in cities! * * * * All of the experts on health and education agree that children should be kept in school until they are at least 14. Every right-minded man and woman will agree on that point. Whether or not some children between 14 and 16 should drop all study and go to work is a grave question. But no one will deny that all of these youngsters need hours for play while they are growing-for the right play helps to build strong, healthy bodies. Now what are the facts? Here they are, furnished by the United States Census Bureau: 378,063 children between the ages of o1and 14 are at work. 682,795 children between the ages of 14 and 16 are at work. Remember, the Census figures show only those children reported by fathers and mothers. Inves tigators know that there are thousands of chil dren from 4 to xo years old whose work at home is hidden from the Census takers. No one can know the exact number. All through these bright sunshiny days when the beautiful green world is calling boys and girls to come and play-they drudge-perhaps a half million of them-mere children. * * * * Poor little souls, many of them doomed to live in the shadow of poverty and ignorance all their lives-what chance have they? The number of children who are injured at work is appalling but not surprising. Children must play and when denied their right ful opportunities, they will play at their work and get hurt. /-l Most of us like to look on the a sunny side of life-and so we \; should. But while we are plan- ' ning for the happiness and wel- i fare of our own boys and girls, . can't we give just a few minutes' /' thought to the little toilers con demned to misery unless we help? ' Thousands of them can be devel- ' oped into splendid men and " women-if they are rescued now. i i,, Bring them out of the shadow and into the sunshine. '.?,v: Generally speaking-the states that give their where and at once is the Child Labor Amend children no protection or next to none have the ment to the Federal Constitution. greatest number of illiterates. They pay the The time is coming when every state will be price of their exploitation. Child labor in the called upon to ratify the Amendment. Be *r : United States has grown to alarming figures ready to do your part to have it sanctioned by and will continue to grow until public opinion the Legislature of your state. It is a measure y,0 ;, and humanity order it stopped. And appar- that should have your heartiest support. i 1 "; . ently the only thing that can stop it every- HALEY FISKE, President. ' 'M Published by , .;-' METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY-NEW YORK Biggest in the World.More Assets, More Policyholders, More Insurance inforce, More new Insurance eachyear "Mention the Geographic-It identifies you."