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

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—A clipping was sent me the other day from a paper which rather consistently has opposed the Administration, and finds it amusing at times to criticize something which I have said or done. The closing paragraph reads as follows:

"Eleanor Roosevelt's comment on youth having written the document of all documents, was any one of several things. It was a concession for these times, it was a shadow casting coming events, or it was plainly a slip of the pen."

This refers to a column which I wrote for the Fourth of July in which I mentioned the Declaration of Independence as having been written by young men. The point which I would like to bring out is that they have labored so hard to find a reason for stating an obvious truth. The Declaration of Independence was written by young men. These men did not live in an age when many men lived to grow old, but a few of those who had a hand in framing this document continued to be looked up to, respected and consulted in their maturer years and I am sure that, as we read of their lives, we are proud of all they did both as young and old men.

Sometimes it seems to me that people overlook the simple explanations and the obvious ones in their efforts to discover some hidden meaning which never was there and probably would not have been very important even if it had been there!

The thing which gives me the greatest entertainment is to find how easy it is to create an impression of being omniscient and knowing a great deal or of having the ability to do a great many things when really you know nothing and can do nothing! I remember a very wise man telling me years ago that sometimes it is the part of wisdom to be willing to be considered uninfluential and "out of the know," because you got yourself into more trouble when people attributed to you abilities which you did not have!

I chuckle when I hear people who, I know quite well, have no inside knowledge and could not wield one scrap of influence, murmuring in hushed tones: "I heard a secret from the best authority, and, of course, I would never repeat it to anyone but you." This is a desire to feel important, but it is so much more comfortable to be unimportant.

I am sorry to see by the papers that Madame Chiang and her sister, Madame Kung, have again had to leave China and seek rest and better health on this side of the ocean. I hope sincerely that they will soon both feel the benefit of the delightful climate which they are now enjoying in Brazil.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 20, 1944

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.

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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 UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.