Aspire to Inspire Like EleanorOctober 06, 2010
Because next week is the great humanitarian Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday, I am reminded of her tremendous legacy to women and all humankind. The daughter of Anna Hall and Elliott Roosevelt, niece of Theodore Roosevelt, wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and mother of six children, Eleanor Roosevelt remains relevant even 49 years after her death.
Long a social justice activist championing equity, social reform, and human rights, Roosevelt was also a prolific writer. Her syndicated newspaper column “My Day” was published from 1935 to 1962. She also wrote monthly columns and articles for national publications including Woman’s Home Companion. According to the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, Roosevelt was
the first (and only) first lady to hold regular press conferences, write a daily newspaper column, publish books and articles, travel the nation on speaking tours, chair national conferences in the White House, address national conventions of social reform organizations, give a keynote address at her party’s presidential convention, represent her nation abroad, travel to battlefields, and direct a government agency.
One of the last of many books Roosevelt authored is titled You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life. Originally published in 1960, its lessons stand the test of time:
1. Learning to learn
2. Fear—the great enemy
3. The uses of time
4. The difficult art of maturity
5. Readjustment is endless
6. Learning to be useful
7. The right to be an individual
8. How to get the best out of people
9. Facing responsibility
10. How everyone can take part in politics
11. Learning to be a public servant
Each of us can write our own story about these lessons today, and many already have through AAUW’s Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award. Established in 1989, the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award honors an individual, project, organization, or institution for outstanding contributions to equity and education for women and girls. The award is given for a broad range of activities including classroom teaching, education and research, and legal and legislative work in equity for women and girls. While the award focuses on education, the recipient need not be an educator.
Do you know of a person or project that embodies the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt? Nominate her or him for the 2011 Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award. Spread the word. Nominations are open until November 1, 2010.