Friday, July 7

TR on Action

Nearly a century after his death, Theodore Roosevelt is in the news again. Indeed, according to the latest edition of Time magazine, he continues to influence world events, public policy, and the character of the American presidency in a host of extraordinary ways. Perhaps the reason was that he had the extraordinary capacity to put criticism in perspective, to remain unflinching in the face of adversity, to maintain a happy reliance upon God's good providence, and to focus on doing what he knew he needed to do. His wisdom clearly remains as relevant and as poignant as ever:

"The man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic--the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done."

"A man can accomplish a certain amount by criticism if his criticism is intelligent and honest, but he can of course accomplish infinitely more by action."

"Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable; but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it. It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger."

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

"I hate a man who never does anything. Why, I'd rather do something and get it wrong, and then apologize, than to do nothing."


Diane V. said...

Ah, dearest Teddy! Countless numbers have been refreshed by his wise words in this quote. Including myself, where once again, find it timely and comforting. Wouldn't you just love to send this quote to all your critics? But, alas, I don't think that's very Christian-like, is it?

Lawrence Underwood said...

Thanks for that encouragement from brother Theodore! I really needed it today. The next to the last paragraph hangs above my desk. Yet, I've never read it in its larger context. Wow!

Thank you once again, Dr. Grant.

Suzi said...

Your book on Teddy has been a mainstay for our family. Whenever we talk about our favorite books ever, it ranks right up there with the Chronicles of Narnia. For almost a year we kept a copy in our car to read aloud during long drives. Just last week our teenage son asked if we could go back and read it again. Thank you for bringing us Teddy's life and accomplishments in such a delightful fashion.