The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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There is an old proverb: "L'appetit vient en mangeant." Translated into English I suppose the nearest we have is: "The more you have, the more you want." As we look over the world today, it looks to me as though human nature is living up to this proverb. The more we kill, the more casual we become about human life. We read our papers with a kind of detachment which I believe lies at the root of the continuance of many of the horrors of civilization. Planes flying over some place in Africa and killing many people seem to make no dent on our imagination. That some men in a distant country assassinate certain officials of their government reads to the majority of us like a fairy tale. That a group of gangsters in our own country commit some terrible crime, brings a little more interest but not enough to galvanize any of us into real action. I suppose this apathy comes partly from the fact that we always feel that these things will happen to the other fellow but not to us, and as individuals we feel that our action or inaction will produce about the same result—nobody in authority will pay attention to what we think! Until we free ourselves of this inferiority complex which is nothing more than a comfortable alibi to sidestep responsibility, I do not see much chance of improving conditions either at home or abroad. And yet, the most powerful weapon that we have our command today is public opinion. Statesmen quail before it and it could move mountains!

I came over from Washington this morning to preside tonight at the "America's Town Meeting of the Air" on the subject of youth, and so it is fitting that my day should be devoted to youth and therefore I attended the Junior School Party at the Todhunter School where my small granddaughter, Eleanor Dall, had a part in the play. These youngsters are very interesting as hostesses, and at their party, which they give once every winter to their parents and friends, they serve tea and seem to forget themselves in their desire to make their guests enjoy the afternoon. As this is the basis for all real hospitality it seems well to include it as part of their education.


About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 28, 1936

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a draft version of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. My Day column draft dated February 27, 1936, FDR Library, Hyde Park, NY
TMsd, 27 February 1936, AERP, FDRL