On June 21, 1904, Theodore Roosevelt wrote to his son, Kermit on the prospects of the upcoming presidential election of 1904. Roosevelt had become president on the death of William McKinley and wanted a term of his own. Towards the end of the letter, he became reflective and wrote:
It is a wonderful privilege to have been here and to have given the chance to do this work, and I should regard myself as having a small and mean mind if in the event of defeat I felt soured at not having had more instead of being thankful for having had so much.1
I thought of myself when I read those words. For over 20 years I had the wonderful privilege to be the director of a residence life program at a small college in Georgia. One day I was called in and told that we needed to talk about “transitioning” me out. They were letting me go. I was shocked and reeling, as if I had been hit by George Foreman. But, God, the One who has never failed me, had a plan.
That was nearly five years ago. This quote makes me realize that I should be thankful for having had so much for the time that I did and not have a small and mean mind, bitter for the way it all ended. Most days I don’t, but on those days I do, I hope to remember this quote and smile, thankful for having had so much.
So, thank you, Teddy Roosevelt.
1 from the pages of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader: Plunges into the Presidency.