You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

The Kennedys

The New York Review of Bookssubscription onlyVanity Fairfree
March 31, 1962. The White House. The issue of raising children came up. The President, probably in order to provoke Marian and [society hostess] Martha Bartlett, said that he did not see why children should not be brought up in community nurseries. This led to a discussion of the role of the family. I asked why the Kennedys had turned out so well and the Churchills and Roosevelt[s] so badly. JFK said, "Well, no one can say it was due to my mother. It was due to my father. He wasn't around as much as some fathers; but, when he was around, he made his children feel that they were the most important things in the world to him. He seemed terribly interested in everything we were doing. He held up standards for us, and he was very tough when we failed to meet his standards. This toughness was important. If it hadn't been for that, Teddy might be just a playboy today."
Isaac Chotiner