If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt

If You Ask Me
by Eleanor Roosevelt

September 1958


I feel sorry for you if you meant what you said in McCall's about not being "important enough" to receive special guidance from God. Do you really believe that one person is more important than another in God's eyes?

No. However, I cannot imagine being arrogant enough to believe that God must enter into the little personal things of life for individuals. There are people I know, for instance, who have the feeling that they can ask for specific favors. I have always thought this required either a very childlike faith or an amount of arrogance hardly excusable in a mature person. I believe one prays for guidance, for strength and for the inspiration to do right. Even in praying for our loved ones, I think we ask not for specific things, but that they be given the vision and strength to do right.


Are you for or against birth control?

There are vast areas of the world where unless there is birth control there can be no progress. I am for birth control, particularly in places having severe problems of overpopulation and insufficient food. I can quite understand, however, that there are reasons why certain people do not believe in birth control, and I feel that people should be allowed their own decisions in this matter.


What do you feel should be the Democrats' strongest talking point for the fall election? The Republicans' strongest talking point?

The Democrats' strongest talking point could be the need for a more affirmative foreign policy and a more imaginative policy in economics and in farm plans. The Republicans' strongest talking point has always been that they will have better people carrying out the established doctrines—but I don't think they can quite get away with this old cliché in the future.


How does the Soviet Union take care of its old people?

They receive pensions.


During the past year what question has been asked you most often by groups you have spoken to in this country? By people you have talked to abroad?

The question most often asked in this country is "Do you really think we can live at peace with the Soviet Union?" In private conversations abroad I have been asked most often whether we really want peace with the Soviet Union.


Does it seem to you that the American husband is more dominated by his wife and family today than he was when you were a girl?

Yes, I think the American husband is more "dominated" today by his wife and family, because both the wife and children receive more education and take a broader interest in things which at one time were considered entirely the province of the man of the family.


How do you feel about a child's being tutored at home? Were any of yours?

Many of my children were tutored at different times at home. I nearly always had someone to teach them in the summer the things I felt they had not learned enough about in the winter. My husband also was tutored at home in his early years because his father was delicate and the family spent a great deal of time at health resorts in Europe. But if you mean do I prefer tutoring at home to going to school, then I must say I feel quite strongly that a child should go to school. The companionship a child gets in school is an important part of his education.

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About this document

If You Ask Me, September 1958

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | SNAC ]

McCall's, volume 85, September 1958

Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Digital edition published 2014, 2016 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
The George Washington University
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1951 F Street, NW
Washington, DC