The second event of Family Week on Monday evening explored social problems of the town and what could be done for them.
Following the invocation by Rev. Abraham Nifon, Miss Gertrude Tanneyhill, with many years of distinguished work in the social service field, acted as chairman and moderator of an “open end” discussion. Those taking part were Mrs. Ruth Sears, supervisor of casework at Home for Little Wanderers; Mrs. Helene Goepner, guidance counselor at Norwood High; Chief James Murphy, Father Paul McManus and Rev. Leon Hatch.
Miss Tanneyhill stated the appropriateness of exploring the problems which exist in any town as part of a Family Week observance so that lasting results might be achieved in the aim of strengthening the family. She told of the inquiry or survey which has just been made by a group of prominent Norwood citizens as the Committee on Resources and Needs and stated those interviewed were “the people whom others trust and to whom they bring their problems and heartaches.” The surprise result was that practically all of the doctors, clergy, business personnel, lawyers, etc., interviewed gave “drinking” as the first problem with which they had to deal, followed by marital, parent-child, adolescent emotional problems, all of which could be ramifications of drinking.
All the speakers spoke thoughtfully, stressing parental example as the most important single factor in the behavior of young people—also the importance of playing and working together and of good communication. Mrs. Sears pointed out the changing society with the availability of liquor and the difficulty of jobs for the uneducated and said a town could do better than a city in getting together on problems. She deplored the “pushing and socializing of children too early in life.”
Mrs. Goepner questioned the basic sense of values which made after-school jobs paramount for having cars and elaborate clothes instead of saving for an education; she stated also that teenage drinking was no problem at the High School but that young people in distress at their parents’ drinking had come to her attention.
101 Arrested as Drunks
Chief Murphy cited 101 arrests rests for drunkenness in Norwood last year and 179 disturbances stemming from drinking, and shocked the audience with his statement of a 12- year-old boy unconscious from liquor in his own home with his father stating he “could get over it as he did last time,” Chief Murphy, cited by Miss Tanneyhill as “unusual in his work above and beyond the call of duty” said that all too often young people are saying and asking “there was nothing else to do” or “what can we do?”
Rev. Hatch stated that drinking was symptomatic and that constructive action would be to look deeper for the cause, and that a self-critical look at ourselves as a town was the best possible function of Family Week. He and Father McManus stressed the searching of young people, of their need for example and control, and cited the fact that when teenagers themselves established codes they were stricter than adult rules.
Father McManus told of Ireland’s program for young people, the “Pioneer Movement” where a young person imbued with the ideal of denying himself brings God’s grace to. bear on a person with problem drinking and so considers it an honor to wear a pin indicating he does not drink.
Among constructive suggestions was Mrs. Goepner’s of a social worker on the staff of the High School to go beyond the scope of the guidance counselor; the need for more staff at the Norfolk Guidance Center to cope with a growing waiting list was mentioned; both Father McManus and Rev. Hatch urged a family counseling service for the many 1’problems beyond us” so that people would not have to go out of town; also the need for a first-rate clinic for both adults and young people with psychiatric service readily available.
The evening closed with refreshments provided by the Women’s Community Committee. Interestingly, during this social hour two valuable suggestions were advanced: That this panel discussion be taken to different groups in the town, and that groups of parents would themselves like to form discussion groups.
(All articles were originally published in the Norwood Messenger unless otherwise noted)
This Day in Norwood History-May 31, 1896-Mock Trial, The Hen Roosts Of Norwood
An Important Case Settled. Larceny of a Rooster the Bone of Contention. Hill Vs. Barrett. Justice never sleeps. It is not always however that justice is meted out in such…
This Day in Norwood History-May 30, 1950-Ponder Question Of Land For School Purposes
The School Committee and the Planning Board following two conferences on the matter of location of possible school sites, visited the are in the vicinity of the corner of Dean…
This Day In Norwood History-May 30, 1922-Ora Holman, 91, Helped Hunt Down John Wilkes Booth
May 30, 1922-Ora Holman, 183 Walpole st, is the oldest Civil War veteran, having passed his 91st birthday. He enlisted in the 2d New Hampshire Cavalry, and is a member…
This Day in Norwood History-May 30, 1903-Woman’s Club Petions For Use of High School Assembly Room
RATHER FAVORS IT. Public Opinion Is Inclined to, Take Sides With the Woman’s Club In An Important Petition. An interesting hearing, involving some equally interesting questions of public policy, was…