My adoration for the Roosevelts is well known. I strive to learn from their example and live a life that is productive. My guidebook for this endeavor is Eleanor Roosevelt’s You Learn by Living. I read it often and read it again to start the year. I decided that it will be my new tradition because it inspires me and helps direct my focus. If you only read one book at my recommendation this would be it. Eleanor’s insight on live is priceless and if we each adopted only a few of her suggestions the world would be a better place.
If your reading list is long (I understand and relate), here are some of my favorite passages.
Why I am patient with children (and try to enthusiastically inspire/motivate adults)
“One of the things I believe most intensely is that every child’s why would be answered with care – and with respect. If you do not know the answer then take the child with you to a source to find the answer. If you brush aside the eager question, if the child’s curiosity is not fed, if his questions are not answered, he will stop asking questions. And then, by the time he is in his middle twenties he will stop wondering about the mysteries of the world. His curiosity will be dead.”
The only thing we have to fear….
Every time you meet a situation, though you may think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you ever were before. If you can live through that you can live through anything. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
And what has happened to America because we gave into ours.
Today the world faces a great challenge: on one side a government preserved by fear, on the other a government of free men. I haven’t ever believed that anything supported by fear can stand against freedom from fear. Surely we cannot be so stupid as to let ourselves become shackled by senseless fears. The result of that would be to have a system of fear imposed on us.”
Motivation to bundle up and get Lucas out of the house and to volunteer with him.
“The development of interests while you are bringing up your children is important to them. The wider their range of experience, the greater the variety of people they encounter in their home life, the farther their horizons will extend and the more hospitable to new ideas they will be as they go out into the world”
“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world all of us need both love and charity.”
“Another sign of maturity is gradually to eliminate the faults you see in yourself but that no one else knows exist”
Advice for working with kids and dealing with difficult people.
“Everyone should be made to feel that it is an important thing to develop his true nature. We should not compare ourselves with others, certainly we should not imitate them. I have often noticed that the person who has followed his true bent has more self-respect than the one who has been forced into an alien mold. And without self-respect, few people are able to feel a genuine respect for others.”
Welp. Another fail.
“While the Russians are straining to deepen and broaden and extend their cultural and intellectual horizon, we cannot afford to be indifferent and to neglect our own development.”
My life philosophy
“A feeling that you have been honest with yourself and those around you; a feeling that you have done the best you could both in your personal life and in your work; and the ability to love others….
Usefulness, whatever form it may take, is the price we should pay for the air we breathe and the food we eat and the privilege of being alive. And it is its own reward, as well, for it is the beginning of happiness, just as self-pity and withdrawal from the battle are the beginning of misery.”
The answer to the world’s problems, we MUST learn to respect each other.
“Respect can do only good. It assumes that the other person’s stature is as large as one’s own, his rights reasonable, his needs important.”
My parenting philosophy
“Children cannot just be told. They must see the values you preach put in practice if they are to become real…. I see parents who insist on standards of conduct in their children which they make no pretense of following themselves. The child who is aware that his parents do not tell him the truth will assume that the practical method is to lie. The child who sees his parents sacrifice everything for material possessions will not believe that spiritual values are important. The child who is taught a kind of lip service to democracy but sees injustice or prejudice condoned by his parents will regard their preachments as empty and dishonest pretensions. If you want your child to develop as an honorable human being you have to practice what you preach.”
Hard questions that are important to answer
“What do I believe? To what extent am I ready to live up to my beliefs? How far am I ready to support them? Are there times when I lack the courage to stand up and be counted because I fear loss of prestige or popularity, of alienating my neighbors, of hurting my business or professional standing?”
VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! Your voice matters
The minimum, the very basic minimum of a citizen’s duty is to cast a vote on election day. Even now, too few of us discharge this minimal duty. By such negligence, such indifference, such sheer laziness, we discard, unused, a gift and a privilege obtained for us at gigantic cost and sacrifice.
But if our chief obligation is to cast a vote, this carries with it a further duty – to vote intelligently. To vote intelligently you must have an understanding of issues and the different points of view as to how they can best be handled. You must have some way of appraising and evaluating the men who appeal for your suffrage to enable them to handle the issues.