This I Believe

Roosevelt, Theodore

  • Theodore Roosevelt III describes what he believes was an unusual family life growing up--his father ensured he spent time with the children--and describes his own belief in and appreciation for the support of his wife and the value of a strong home life.
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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Theodore Roosevelt III is a businessman. A graduate of Groton School and Harvard College, his education was greatly enhanced by travel. His father was, among other things, a governor to Puerto Rico and the Philippines and an explorer of note. After college, Mr. Roosevelt worked for the Du Ponte Company until World War II. Upon his release from the Navy, he joined Montgomery Scott and Company, stock brokers, where he is now a general partner. He was also Secretary of Commerce of Pennsylvania for two years under former Governor Duff. Here now is Mr. Roosevelt.
I remember as a child taking pretty well for granted the fact that we lived an intensely happy and particularly close family life. It never occurred to me to wonder that father, busy and hardworking as he was, could still find ample time to be with his children, teaching them to play games, campout in the woods, fish, shoot, and learn how to be good sports.
Upon growing up, it became increasingly evident that my family was particularly fortunate in our relationships to each other. Without great wealth, we enjoyed all the things that really count in youth. I learned to appreciate this fact and to value it highly. Now with a family of my own, I find that the time I’m able to be at home provides the perfect balance for the hectic
rush and nervous strain of the competitive business world of today. This I believe is my anchor in life, the unchanging constant providing me with the correct perspective on life and the world at large.
There have been days in my life which seemed to consume all my energy and yet, which at the end, appeared totally wasted, leaving me tired mentally, exhausted physically, and thoroughly discouraged. If I remain close to my business problems after work, there is almost no chance of achieving the detached view necessary to relax and recover the mental balance required for success and happiness. When I get down in the dumps, feeling cross as a bear, and finding little good in anything, I find the only sure cure lies at home. My wife is only too well acquainted with the myriad variations in humor of her husband returning
from work, and seems quite successfully to have developed a remarkable knack of diversionary tactics calculated to snap him out of unreasonable and senseless moods.
She knows exactly when to sympathize and cajole, and just as important when not to—when to pin my ears back. She knows when to discuss business and unravel problems with me, or when to launch into a series of amusing and diverting trivialities. I believe that it is because of our having been successful in developing a happy home, that we have achieved this real understanding and companionship. Without it, I am sure, both our lives would seem empty and meaningless.
My son and I often spend time in our cellar workshop toiling pleasantly on joint projects of no earthshaking importance in themselves, but which provide an excellent opportunity for us to grow up together. Oddly enough, it is at times such as these
with a mind wiped clean of material cares that the solution to some nagging problem will suddenly appear with surprising ease and simplicity.
During the Second World War, I was one of the millions of fathers separated from their families. I firmly believe that the remembrance of my family as a unit, rather than as individuals, was of inestimable help in bridging those years. My family means all these things to me. But of far greater importance, in my book, is the sense of fulfillment, of what I believe to be man’s real reason for existing: the creation of a happy unit of society, his own family.
That was the creed of Theodore Roosevelt III, who lives with his wife and young son in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.