Yesterday, I was channeling Mary Poppins, and I still have her 21st century bag. Today, it’s all about Eleanor Roosevelt and her sage advice in You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life. This is the… fourth selection by the JLC book club. At some point, we’re going to have a reading list on our website, but for now, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
I can’t believe I haven’t read this book before. I’ve long admired Mrs. Roosevelt, one of the first Junior League members, and a woman whose intelligence and power was legendary. I’ve highlighted nearly every page in my little Kindle edition, but my favorite quote comes in the forward.
“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes.”
Some of you know how deeply I believe that there are no coincidences and as such, we are the sum of the decisions – choices – we make. This mother, former first lady, diplomat and more goes so far as to caution us to answer that annoying childhood “why” with patience and awareness, because how we respond dictates how the child doing the asking will come to regard learning.
Oh, it is preachy. I find it motivating and though-provoking, but I’m sure others find it high and mighty and not grounded in the mundane that is “real life” for most of us. But then, like the author, I was raised in a household where education meant the ability to formulate and support my own opinions, not just regurgitating facts.
In the late chapters, she gives advice on public service and even on politics. But I still insist there’s something here for everyone. Just look at the table of contents:
- Learning to Learn
- Fear – the Great Enemy
- The Uses of Time
- The Difficult Art of Maturity
- Readjustment is Endless
- Learning to be Useful
- The Right to be an Individual
- How to Get the Best Out of People
- Facing Responsibility
- How Everyone Can Take Part in Politics
- Learning to Be a Public Servant
It’s a beautiful book from what is perhaps a time gone by, but I find so much of it applicable today. I’m glad it’s on my Kindle, because I’ll be able to pull it up on my iPhone, iPad, or even my computer when I want to quote the great lady!
What have you learned by living?