CPC Report; An unabashedly liberal perspective

7 November 2010- Eleanor Roosevelt's Birthday


It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
Eleanor Roosevelt
She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness and her glow has warmed the world. Adlai Stevenson 

What Religion Means to Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

It is generally conceded that in a world where material values seem to be dropping out of sight further and further day by day, there is a growing realization that something else is needed. Some of us even feel that amidst the many evils and sorrows and injustices which are the fruit of what we call the depression, there may be emerging one thing which will be of permanent value to us all-namely, a new standard which will set above everything else certain spiritual values. In our mad haste for more and more money and more and more luxury we had almost forgotten to count these as part of our heritage in this country.

And yet most of us who are in the forties and fifties today can look back to a childhood where religion and religious instruction were part of our everyday life, but we have come so far away from those days that in writing this article I even feel that I must begin by defining what I mean by religion. To me religion has nothing to do with any specific creed or dogma. It means that belief and that faith in the heart of a man which makes him try to live his life according to the highest standard which he is able to visualize. To those of us who were brought up as Christians that standard is the life of Christ, and it matters very little whether our creed is Catholic or Protestant.

To those of us who happen to have been born and brought up under other skies or in other creeds, the object to be attained goes by some other name, but in all cases the thing which counts is the striving of the human soul to achieve spiritually the best that it is capable of and to care unselfishly not only for personal good but for the good of all those who toil with them upon the earth.

Having established this as the meaning of religion, I can go back and speak for a moment of what most of us with Anglo-Saxon forebears remember as religious training in our youth. Sunday was, indeed, a day set apart from other days and some of the things decreed by my grandmother, who brought me up, I personally very much resented. I could not play games on Sunday; I had to sit on the uncomfortable small seat in my grandmother's large Victoria and drive five miles to and from church; I had special books which I was only allowed to read on Sundays, and I could not read the story in which I might happen to be interested. But I really enjoyed learning the Bible verses and the hymns, which always had to be memorized for Sunday morning, and I have never to this day quite got over the real pleasure of singing hymns on Sunday evening, after supper, as a family. These were very agreeable things and besides your elders had more time to talk to you. They even took little people for very pleasant walks on Sunday afternoons and in the winter I can remember open fires and books read aloud, which to this day carry me back to a happy atmosphere. But this religious training was not just an affair of Sundays-there were family prayers every morning and you grew up with the feeling that you had a share in some great spiritual existence beyond the everyday round of happenings.

Many of us have seen changes in religious thought since then, and God and religion may have come to mean many different things to many people, but I doubt if any of us have ever completely lost that feeling of having something outside of one's self and greater than one's self to depend on. There never has been a time when that feeling is more needed than it is today. People in trouble need just what little children need-a sense of security, a sense of something greater than their own powers to turn to and depend on.

The worst thing that has come to us from the depression is fear. Fear of an uncertain future, fear of not being able to meet our problems, fear of not being equipped to cope with life as we live it today. We need some of the old religious spirit which said, "I myself am weak but Thou art strong Oh Lord!" That was the spirit which brought people to this country, which settled it, which carried men and women through untold hardships, and which has given us our heritage of comparative ease and comfort.

After I left home and went to school I came under the influence of a very interesting woman who proclaimed that she had no religion and that the Christians, from her point of view, were rather to be looked down upon because they did right for gain. It might not be gain in this world but it was for gain in the next, and therefore the only people of real virtue were those who believed that there was no future life, but who wished to help those around them to do what was right purely through an interest in their fellow human beings and a desire to see right triumph just because it was right. I was too young to come back then with the obvious retort that making those around you happy makes you happy yourself, and that therefore you are seeking a reward just as much as if you were asking for your reward in a future life, and that perhaps what we know as good in life and what we here think of as praise-worthy will not be counted at all as a spiritual achievement by some more understanding judge. That is why we all of us, whether we are willing to acknowledge it or not, do crave the belief in some power greater than ourselves and beyond our understanding-because we know in our hearts that deeds and outward things mean little and that only someone who can gauge what striving there has been can really judge of what a human soul has achieved.

Today I am an Episcopalian, as I was as a child, but I feel that this makes me neither better nor worse than those who belong to any other church. I believe in the habits of regular churchgoing and regular work for the church because there is help for us all in doing things in common and we care more for things that we give to, of our time, of our material wealth, and of our thought. But these are the outward symbols which should proclaim inner growth, and it is the inner growth which is important. If people can attain it without the help of what might be called religious routine, that is for them to decide. The fundamental, vital thing which must be alive in each human consciousness is the religious teaching that we cannot live for ourselves alone and that as long as we are here on this earth we are all of us brothers, regardless of race, creed, or color.

We must honestly try to put into practice some of the things which have always been considered too visionary to be actually tried in everyday life. We cannot give lip service alone to religion today. We hear constantly that prosperity will soon return, that this or that will bring about better business conditions, but we know of many people who have gone down under the strain of material loss and misfortune. The increasing number of suicides makes us realize that many people are feeling that life is too hard to cope with. That feeling would not exist if out of this depression we could revive again any actual understanding of what it means to be responsible for one's brother. Perhaps the parable of the rich man fits today very admirably, only we are not allowed to voluntarily place ourselves in his position. It is neatly done for us and our part is simply to see that we learn our lesson aright and that we profit by it, and that instead of sinking under the weight of fear we find our souls strengthened by the knowledge that we are part of some great scheme and that our courage springs up from deep wells of tradition, for our forefathers knew that there was a God who gave us strength and who ordered the world in which we live, but that we had to put forth our own strength to the utmost before our spirits could be upheld.

Out of these troublous times perhaps this knowledge will come back to us, and if it does a new day may really dawn for us all. Failure, however, must cease to mean material loss; it is the way we meet adversity, not adversity itself, which counts. If we have life and love and health and hope and a vision to strive for, then we are not failures, but if we are to hold this point of view real religion must be supreme on earth.

It has been true in the past that in all times of great crises there has been a revival of religious feeling. We are going through a time when vast numbers of our people are facing loss of things which they hold dear, some of them are facing actual starvation-though I think we have come to a point where our social conscience has become keen enough for us to make every attempt as a people to prevent, wherever we know of it, actual starvation. It is looked upon today as one of the duties of government to see that no one starves, and that is something which would not have even been thought of two hundred years ago.

But there are many other by-products of the depression which do as much harm as actual starvation. The lack of work, the feeling of helplessness, and the inevitable lowering in many families of the standard of living have a sad effect upon the general morale and habits of life of all the members of the family. Little by little it is being borne in upon us that it is not only life which we have a right to preserve, but that there is something more precious which the need of material things may stamp out of the human soul. Therefore it behooves us so to order our civilization that all can live in the security of having the necessities of life, and that each individual according to his abilities and his vision may at the same time preserve his hope for future growth.

This is Utopia perhaps, and many years distant, but it seems to me that it is the goal of real civilization, and it also seems to me that only through a revival of true religion are we going to achieve this goal. When religion becomes again a part of our daily lives, when we are not content only with so living that our neighbors consider us just men, and when we really strive to put into practice that which in moments of communion with ourselves we know to be the highest standard of which we are capable, then religion will mean in each life what I think it should mean. We will follow the outward observances because they give us help and strength, but we will live day by day with the consciousness of a greater power and of greater understanding than our own to guide us and protect us and spur us on.

“The Religion  of Eleanor Roosevelt”

A Sermon by the Rev. Bruce Clear

Sunday, October 21, 2007

All Souls Unitarian Church


Let me begin with a verbal description of two political cartoons from the era of Eleanor Roosevelt.  It is the midst of the Great Depression, and the cartoon showed dirty coal miners discovering a woman entering the mine wearing a miner’s hat.  With astonishment, one says to the other, “My gosh!  There’s Mrs. Roosevelt!”  Another cartoon showed a shipload of immigrants in New York’s harbor.  A mother and her young son were looking at the Statue of Liberty, and when the mother asks if he knows who that is, the boy responds saying, “Of course I know who that is.  That’s Mrs. Roosevelt!”    

Those of you who have been around here awhile are familiar with an occasional series of sermons I’ve given on “The Religion of. . .” various notable people of history.  Some have been Unitarian or Universalist, like Susan B. Anthony or Frank Lloyd Wright, but others have had no direct ties to our tradition, like Mark Twain, Albert Einstein or Kahlil Gibran.  Today I speak on Eleanor Roosevelt, who was raised and remained Episcopalian her whole life, though she was respectful of, and appreciated, diverse religious traditions.  The only direct connection to Unitarians that I could find was her close personal friendship with Adlai Stevenson, an active Unitarian statesman.  When Eleanor died, it was Stevenson who was chosen deliver her eulogy. 

In doing this series, the primary lesson I have learned is that religion has less to do with theological belief and far more to do with the values that shape life. Religion is about the principles that guide our life in this world far more than our speculations about the nature of the world beyond us.  So when I speak of the religion of a person’s life, I am referring not so much to their views on God or the trinity or afterlife or anything metaphysical.  I am speaking primarily about the religion that is revealed by the way they lived their life. 

 Eleanor Roosevelt said as much directly.  In a 1932 speech entitled “What Religion Means to Me,” she said this: 

To me religion has nothing to do with any specific creed or dogma.  It means that belief and that faith in the heart of (people) that make (them) try to live life according to the highest standard which (he or she) can visualize. . . .  In all cases, the thing that counts is the striving of the human soul to achieve spiritually the best that it is capable of and to care unselfishly not only for personal good but for the good of all. . . .  The important thing is neither your nationality nor the religion you profess, but how your faith translated into your life.” 

 I have often said to those who inquire about Unitarian Universalism, that our religion isn’t based on beliefs.  It is not that beliefs aren’t important; it is that religion is revealed more realistically in a person’s life through the values that are expressed by how we live.  It is instructive, then, to look at the lives of others that show us the best kind of religion there is – a life of integrity and high purpose.   Religious creed is a distant factor.  People like Eleanor Roosevelt tell us more about living religiously than can any theologian. 

According to Gallup Polls, Eleanor Roosevelt was the most admired woman in the world (the world!) for fifteen consecutive years, from 1946 to 1961. That admiration was earned by the evidence of a profound integrity of character. 

I want to suggest this morning that her greatest contribution to our life as a society was to provide a conscience to guide us.   Conscience is, among other things, an expression of religious values. 

She was born on October 11, 1884 in New York City.  She was a child of wealth and privilege.  Both parents came from prominent families, and her father’s brother was Theodore Roosevelt, a political celebrity on his way to the White House at the time.  And yet her childhood was, by her own account, miserable.   Her mother attached great importance to the New York social scene, and showed a passion for the superficial.  Her mother felt that Eleanor was a homely child, and called her by the nickname “Granny,” which made Eleanor feel ugly.  Her father was kinder and more loving toward Eleanor, but he was also an alcoholic and philanderer who didn’t have any focus in life.  This unfortunate home-life changed for her at a young age, but not necessarily for the better.  Her mother died of diphtheria when Eleanor was eight, and two years later her father died of complications from alcohol. 

The orphaned Eleanor was sent, along with her two brothers, to be raised by her maternal grandmother, Mary Ludlow Hall.  Her grandmother approached life and parenting much the same way her mother did, belittling Eleanor in public and private.  The biggest difference was that her grandmother was a far stricter disciplinarian. 

As a result of these experiences, Eleanor Roosevelt was exceedingly shy.  She would not speak out in school when called upon, and found it hard to make friends.  At age 15, though, her life finally changed a bit for the better.  Eleanor was sent to a boarding school in England for two years to finish her education.  Away from the influence of her dysfunctional family, she began to blossom.  The school’s headmistress, who was an outspoken feminist and a freethinker, took a special liking to Eleanor, and became somewhat of a mentor. 

By the time she returned to the United States at age 17, Eleanor was beginning to come out of her shell.  She still thought of herself as ugly and inferior, but she was not the wallflower she had been.  Though she was given a debutante party at the Waldorf, Eleanor was deeply uncomfortable with the pretensions of high society and volunteered with the Junior League, which provided services to many of the poorer neighborhoods of the city. 

Soon after her return, Eleanor became reacquainted with a distant cousin, a fifth cousin “once removed,” by the name of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  They had known each other vaguely as children, but now a courtship began that led them to marriage in 1905.  Her Uncle Theodore, at that time President of the United States, gave the bride away in lieu of her parents.  (Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter once commented that he had a secret desire to be the bride at every wedding, the baby at every christening, and the corpse at every funeral). 

The marriage of Franklin and Eleanor, we all know, was rocky from the start, mostly because of Franklin’s affairs but also because of the meddling of his mother.  Eleanor’s deep personal insecurities didn’t help as well.  And yet they maintained a mutual respect for each other that was so deep, it often must have felt like love.  They shared values, goals, and aspirations, too.  They were, in that sense, good for each other, and became and stayed close as life partners, however complex the marriage. 

It was in the early 1920s that Franklin first contracted polio, which would eventually cripple him, making him unable to walk.  From the beginning, Eleanor gave him complete support and in some ways became his “legs,” so that he could be successful. 

After they were married, children came in rapid succession – six children were born between 1906 and 1916, though one child died in infancy.  And while Eleanor was learning parenting, Franklin was climbing the rungs of the political ladder, becoming governor of New York in 1928.  During this time, Eleanor also became active in politics and social causes.  She campaigned for Alfred E. Smith for president, and worked for the Women’s Trade Union League, which promoted a 48 hour work week, minimum wage, and the abolition of child labor.  She also worked with the League of Women Voters and taught literature and American history at the Todhunter School for Girls in New York City.  

She was a busy woman from the start, but life became even busier when Franklin was elected president in 1933.  Eleanor was determined that her life as First Lady would make a difference in the world.  She broke the mould of First Ladies.  By the end of her career she became known as “First Lady to the World.”   

These were unique times and they called for a different kind of leadership.  The country was in the middle of a devastating economic depression.  People felt threatened and powerless, and lived daily with fear of further disaster. 

Eleanor Roosevelt wanted to give people comfort and confidence.  In many ways she became the conscience of the New Deal recovery program.  While the federal government was developing big and complex programs to turn around the depression, she became, quite literally, the liaison between the government and individuals who were suffering.  She would personally visit the slums of cities, talk to miners and destitute farmer, sit with widows and orphans and hear their stories. She was the conscience of the government by showing the human face of sympathy and concern, rather than simply an impersonal government program.  She was the human face of the New Deal. 

In his biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, J. William T. Youngs put it this way:

Eleanor Roosevelt “could project herself compellingly to humankind en masse: to blacks, Jews, the poor, the oppressed; she could shake a hundred hands in a receiving line and seem interested in every one she met; she could sign and send a hundred letters a day.  But in order to deal with the generalities, she needed particularities.  She understood the suffering of millions of American blacks because she knew a few blacks well.  She understood the plight of unemployed coal miners because she visited and revisited one mining community.  And above all, she understood people because she had come to love a few people as much as life itself.”  (p.5) 

After the Depression came the War, and again she represented the conscience of the nation.  As she had visited the people who were suffering economic wounds, now she visited the American soldiers in hospitals and heard their stories and gave them comfort.   She represented to them the love and concern of their own mothers.  She traveled the country giving pep talks to swarms of citizens who would gather to hear her words of comfort and encouragement. 

She was our national conscience at that time.  In the years leading up to the war she lobbied to accept more Jewish immigrants fleeing Nazi terror, when Congress wanted to put a cap on such immigration. 

In some ways,  when the war came, she did more than anyone else in uniting the diverse segments of society in joining together in common cause for the war effort.  She was instrumental in establishing a training program for African American combat pilots in an illustrious group that became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.  She also organized a training program for women military pilots.   I remember the story of the late Madge Minton, long-time All Souls member, who spoke of personally writing a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt in order to be accepted into this pilot training program, and how personally grateful she was to Mrs. Roosevelt. 

Throughout her life, she represented the conscience of the nation when it came to race relations.  She was a vocal advocate of racial equality when hardly anyone in power acknowledged that it was an issue.  In 1939, the distinguished organization called the Daughters of the American Revolution stained its reputation by denying to the popular African American singer Marian Anderson use of its Washington Hall.  Mrs. Roosevelt publicly resigned from membership in the D.A.R. and helped organize a concert for the singer on the steps of the Lincoln memorial.  Later, she served on the Board of Directors of the NAACP.

Once, when she visited a public lecture in the segregated South and discovered whites were required to sit on one side of the aisle and blacks on the other side, she physically moved her seat to the middle of the center aisle to protest the policy.  Her conscience was ahead of its time. 

She was the conscience of the nation in matters of civil liberties.  During the war, privately and frequently, she reminded the President and anyone else who would listen that fighting to protect our nation can only be justified if we also protect the rights of our citizens.  Her voice of conscience said that if we lose human rights at home on the altar of war, then we don’t deserve to win.  She spoke out strongly within the government against the policy of placing all Americans of Japanese descent into internment prison camps during the war.  She lost the argument, and the nation now looks back in shame on that policy.

After Franklin died, President Truman appointed Eleanor Roosevelt as our first delegate to the new United Nations.  In that capacity, her main focus was protecting human rights.  She became co-chair of the UN’s Human Rights Commission and the person most responsible for getting nations to approve the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone on the road of civilization. 

She was a staunch defender of the separation of church and state.  In the 1950s, she engaged in a public exchange of opinions against New York’s Cardinal Spelmen, opposing federal aid to parochial schools.  When the dispute became too heated, she invited the Cardinal to her home to talk more personally and calmly. 

It was perhaps her active role in racial civil rights and citizen civil liberties that caused J. Edgar Hoover to suspect her of being a communist.  At the time of her death, Eleanor Roosevelt, the voice of our national conscience, had the thickest F.B.I. file of anyone in the country.  In hindsight, this was an achievement worthy of respect. 

Eleanor Roosevelt had deep respect for religion.  But for her authentic religion is not something handed down as creeds and doctrines.  Authentic religion is something that is lived.  Her views reflect the sense of individual integrity that lies at the core of our own tradition.  At one point she said it this way:  

"I think it is essential that you should teach your child that he has an intellectual and spiritual obligation to decide for himself what he thinks and not to allow himself to accept what comes from others without putting it through his own reasoning process.” 

Like anyone, the religion of Eleanor Roosevelt is observed not in the words she spoke, but rather in the life she lived.  Hers was a religion of conscience and compassion. 

According to her son Elliot, Eleanor Roosevelt ended each day reciting the same prayer.  It is a prayer of aspiration and a prayer of personal challenge.  It is appropriate to close this sermon with her prayer: 

“Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find: forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life.  Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far-off goals.  Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we me be driven to Thee for strength.  Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world.  Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness others hide from us because we do not try to understand them.  Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of a world made new.”   AMEN


Adlai Stevenson Eulogy to Eleanor Roosevelt 

Mr. President, delegation of the United States:

I want to thank you for the eloquent and meaningful words that you have just uttered about Mrs. Roosevelt. And I come here for the second time in little more than a year, sad in heart and in spirit. The United States, the United Nations, the world has lost one of its great citizens. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt is dead; and a cherished friend of all mankind is gone.

Yesterday, I said that I had lost more than a friend -- I had lost an inspiration: for she would rather light candles than curse the darkness and her glow had warmed the world. My country mourns here; and I know that all in this Assembly mourn with us.

But even as we do, the sadness we share is enlivened by the faith that her fellow man and his future which filled the heart of this strong and gentle woman. She imparted this faith not only to those who shared the privilege of knowing her and working by her side, but to countless men, women, and children in every part of the world who loved her even as she loved them. For she embodied the vision and the will to achieve a world in which all men can walk in peace and dignity. And to this goal of a better life, she dedicated here tireless energy and the strange strength of her extraordinary personality.

I don't think it amiss, Mr. president, to suggest the United Nations is in no small way a memorial to her and her aspirations. To it, she gave the last 15 years of her restless spirit. She breathed life into this organization. The United Nations has meaning and hope for millions thanks to her labors and her love, no less than to her ideals -- ideals that made her, only weeks after Franklin Roosevelt's death, put aside all thoughts of peace and quiet after the tumult of their lives to serve as one of this nation's delegates to the first regular session of the General Assembly. Her duty then, as always, was to the living, the world, to peace.

Some of you in this hall were present at that first historic Assembly in London 17 years ago. More of you were witness to her work in subsequent assemblies in the years that followed. The members of the third committee, the committee on social, humanitarian, and cultural questions, and the commission on human rights which she served so long as chairman, will remember the warmth, the intelligence, and the infectious buoyancy which she brought to her tasks. You know better than any of us the unceasing crusade that helped to give the world after years of painstaking and patient travail one of the most noble documents of mankind: the Declaration of Human Rights.

This is not the time to recount the infinite services of this glorious and gracious lady. The list is an inexhaustible as her energies. But devotion to the world of the charter, to the principles of the United Nations, to a world without war, to the brotherhood of man, underscored them all. And happily for us she could communicate her devotion, her enthusiasm to others: she saw clearly; she spoke simply.

The power of her words came from the depth of her conviction. "We must be willing," she said, "to learn the lesson that cooperation may imply compromise, but if it brings a world advance, it is a gain for each individual nation. There will be those who doubt their ability to rise to these new heights, but the alternative," she said, "is not possible to contemplate. We must build faith in the hearts of those who doubt. We must rekindle faith in ourselves when it grows dim, and find some kind of divine courage within us, to keep on, till on earth we have peace and goodwill among men.

Albert Schweitzer wrote, "No ray of sunlight is ever lost. But the green which it wakes needs time to sprout. And it is not always granted to the sewer to live to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." Mrs. Roosevelt rekindled that faith in ourselves. Now that she is gone, the legacy of her lifetime will do no less.

Mr. President, I trust you and the members of the Assembly will forgive me for having taken your time with these very personal thoughts. The issues that we debate in this hall are many and grave. But I don't think that we are divided in our grief at the passing of this great and gallant human being who was called "The First Lady of the World."

Quotable Eleanor Roosevelt

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.  

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. 

The giving of love is an education in itself.  

Sometimes I wonder if we shall ever grow up in our politics and say definite things which mean something, or whether we shall always go on using generalities to which everyone can subscribe, and which mean very little.  

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long standing and none of us should countenance anything which undermines it.
Ambition is pitiless. Any merit that it cannot use it finds despicable.

Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe, will, I think, recognize that the domination of education or of government by any one particular religious faith is never a happy arrangement for the people.

As for accomplishments, I just did what I had to do as things came along.

Autobiographies are only useful as the lives you read about and analyze may suggest to you something that you may find useful in your own journey through life.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect.

Friendship with ones self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.

Hate and force cannot be in just a part of the world without having an effect on the rest of it.

Have convictions. Be friendly. Stick to your beliefs as they stick to theirs. Work as hard as they do.

I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.

I can not believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war.

I have spent many years of my life in opposition, and I rather like the role.

A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. 

I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.

I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.

I'm so glad I never feel important, it does complicate life!

If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.

In all our contacts it is probably the sense of being really needed and wanted which gives us the greatest satisfaction and creates the most lasting bond.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.

It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.

Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

My experience has been that work is almost the best way to pull oneself out of the depths.

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.

Only a man's character is the real criterion of worth.

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
 comes new strength and new thoughts.

You can never really live anyone else's life, not even your child's. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you've become yourself.

You can't move so fast that you try to change the mores faster than people can accept it. That doesn't mean you do nothing, but it means that you do the things that need to be done according to priority.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.

Perhaps nature is our best assurance of immortality.

Probably the happiest period in life most frequently is in middle age, when the eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun; as we see that the shadows, which are at morning and evening so large, almost entirely disappear at midday.

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one. 

Glynn Braman






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