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

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Seattle, Wash., Wednesday—My attention has been drawn to the fact that several days ago I wrote a column on a commencement address delivered at the University of Nebraska, and attributed it to the Director of the Budget, instead of to Judge Curtis Bok, who was the real author. How I happened to make this mistake is difficult for me to understand, for I was quite well aware of the fact that I had two commencement addresses, both of them equally interesting, one by Judge Bok, and one given by Mr. Harold D. Smith, Director of the Federal Bureau of the Budget.

But Mr. Smith's address was given at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, and I have not yet had an opportunity to tell you some of the things he said. They were important things and I mean to tell you about them today, because they are things which deal with the preparation of young people through education for participation in the community life of the future.

Mr. Smith reminds young people that in these present years we are proving our ability to destroy "quickly, effectively, overwhelmingly," and then he tells youth that our real test and our real development lies ahead in proving our power for "constructive effort." He insists that "education must be forged into an effective creative instrument for the job of building a better society." He fears that our tendency to promote primarily technical education, which is needed at the moment, may create great difficulties when we shall need all the liberal arts and cultural education we are temporarily neglecting, in order to meet the problems of reconstructing society. He insists educators must not allow themselves to be isolated in their classrooms or on their campuses, but must be a vital part in the current movement of the day. Specifically, he says that we have failed to train men in administrative leadership.

We do not develop through education the managerial qualities which must be based on a knowledge of the new trends of civilization and an ability to understand the ways of social progress. He also makes an urgent plea against specialization in education, which does not allow the training of young people with a sufficiently broad background to see how many things must be fitted together before they can get a pattern of really satisfactory living in the modern world. Labor, the farm, the city dweller, the press and the government must all work together, instead of frequently pulling in different directions with only their individual points of interest in mind.

For instance, there is a popular theory that a government administrator and a business administrator are two people requiring different training and probably developing antagonistic attitudes toward each other. As a matter of fact, they are very akin to each other in the problems they face and in the ways in which they should be trained to face them.

"The solution of the problems in our democracy will always require citizens that can see beyond the limits of their own profession, their own class, their own community. This applies to those who choose the leaders as well as to the leaders themselves. It applies equally in the fields of politics, of religion, of industry, agriculture and labor; it applies in every community of the land."



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Seattle (Wash., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 22, 1943

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