Theodore Roosevelt on Motherhood

Theodore Roosevelt with his family

This morning Pastor Curell mentioned an address made by President Theodore Roosevelt to the National Congress of Mothers in 1905. Though I've very recently read a biography of this remarkable man to my children, I had never heard of this speech. It's superb!

Here's a short selection:

Inasmuch as I am speaking to an assemblage of mothers, I shall have nothing whatever to say in praise of an easy life. Yours is the work which is never ended. No mother has an easy time, the most mothers have very hard times; and yet what true mother would barter her experience of joy and sorrow in exchange for a life of cold selfishness, which insists upon perpetual amusement and the avoidance of care, and which often finds its fit dwelling place in some flat designed to furnish with the least possible expenditure of effort the maximum of comfort and of luxury, but in which there is literally no place for children?

There is so much more. Roosevelt had scathing things to say about two-child by choice families and the value of duty over rights. Very excellent! You can read the speech in its entirety here. But you might prefer to listen to it. Youtube has a stirring Librivox recording by Paul Adams reading the speech and you can follow along with scrolling text. Part I is here and Part II is here.

T.R. with his granddaughter


Becky Pryor said…
Hi Anne,

What biography did you read? I'd love to check it out!

Anne said…
The children's biography I read with Ben and Paul is called *Bully for You,Teddy Roosevelt!* It is written by Jean Fritz who writes in a zippy, entertaining style, but she manages to fill her books with content.

Another children's book that I've requested from the library is *Theodore Roosevelt for Kids: His Life and Times, 21 Activities." This is part of the For Kids series which combine science, historical, or biographical background with crafts and game activities. The ones we have or have read have been very good.

And I've just ordered for myself *Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of Theodore Roosevelt* by George Grant for a Christian take on this fascinating man.
Eric Rasmusen said…
Thank you for telling us of that great speech. I liked:

"Teach boys and girls alike that they are not to look forward to lives spent in avoiding difficulties, but to lives spent in overcoming difficulties. Teach them that work, for themselves and also for others, is not a curse but a blessing; seek to make them happy, to make them enjoy life, but seek also to make them face life with the steadfast resolution to wrest success from labor and adversity, and to do their whole duty before God and to man. Surely she who can thus train her sons and her daughters is thrice fortunate among women. "

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