Franklin Delano Roosevelt is one of my favorite leaders and presidents. He is arguably the greatest president. Washington presided over the birth of our country, Lincoln set it on a course to endure, but without Roosevelt their work would have unraveled in the hopelessness of the depression.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt learned resilience in his battle to overcome the devastating impact of polio. He reached into those deep reservoirs of resilience to teach America how to hope in the face of hopelessness. FDR as he was known gave this country the courage to keep moving on.
There are three key qualities we can learn from Roosevelt so we can keep moving on. They are drawn from the historically insightful writing of “Traitor to His Class” by H.W. Brands. Please read this book to learn much more.
Resilience is the ability to turn “crushing defeat” and “painful suffering” into “transformative growth.”
“The insiders knew something of the source of his confidence. They knew how his golden youth of wealth, travel, and athletic vitality had segued into a charmed young adulthood of political preference and rapid advance—and how the brilliant career had been cut short, apparently, by a devastating attack of polio. Crushed by despair, he had clawed his way back to hope; struck down physically, he gradually regained his feet. He reentered the political arena, a fuller man for what he had lost, a deeper soul for what he suffered.”Brands, H.W. (2008-11-04). Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (p. 12). Random House, Inc.
Inspiration is the capacity to provide hope in the face of hopelessness…to help people dream.
Beyond everything else, he provided hope. He didn’t end the Great Depression, which was too large and complex for any elected official to conquer. But he banished the despair the depression had engendered. He understood intuitively—or perhaps he learned from Uncle Ted and Woodrow Wilson—that the presidency is above all a moral office. A president who speaks to the hopes and dreams of the people can change the nation. Roosevelt did speak to the people’s hopes and dreams, and together they changed America. They changed the world as well.Brands, H.W. (2008-11-04). Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (p. 818). Random House, Inc.
Friendships are those relationships which give us the courage to keep moving on.
“If anything happened to that man, I couldn’t stand it. He is the truest friend; he has the farthest vision; he is the greatest man I’ve ever known.”Brands, H.W. (2008-11-04). Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (p. 824). Random House, Inc.