Franklin D Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States of America, died at the age of 63, on April 12, 1945. I’m not going to tell you data about him and bore you to tears. We all know we can “Google” his name and find his bio anywhere in the interwebs.
What I want to tell you today about FDR is what I think about how strong-minded he was. His compassion and empathy towards humanity, and how he inspires me to help others and stand strong!
I don’t know if you are familiar with him going to “Warm Springs” in Georgia after he got poliomyelitis (most commonly known as polio). His depression about losing his ability to walk, his struggle to find his way back to society and move around, crippled him even more than his disability to walk.
It is important that I emphasize what I mentioned above: his depression and struggle crippled him more than the disease itself. I tell you why: the mental ability to overcome a physical challenge marks how a person will develop a strong or weak character. That mental ability will make anyone regain confidence, emotional strength, and power to go on in life with an unbreakable positive attitude.
Well, in Warm Springs – the only hospital devoted solely to the treatment of poliomyelitis victims in the world -, he found himself and discovered the existence of many others with the same illness he had. These patients were coming from different backgrounds and privileges -or the lack of- in society: rich, poor, with education or without it, children, young adults, and adults, all suffering from poliomyelitis.
Franklin D Roosevelt shared his time with children and learned from them. He admired the courage of little children and how they never gave up. These children were strong-minded and strong-spirited and walked, with extreme difficulty and pain but with a huge smile, and that my readers, is what we all should do every day of our lives.
While many succumb to the trauma of failure and lose confidence and performance, resilient individuals rise again, learn from their failure and improve their performance. It takes passion for life, will, and a positive-stubborn attitude to never give up, to never give in.
Poliomyelitis deepened and grounded FDR. It made him a champion of children with polio—an effort that led to the March of Dimes and the later Salk and Sabin vaccines—and for that matter a champion of all people who suffered hardship, physical, mental or emotional.
Always remember: While you are alive and breathing, make sure you are able to say “I am still standing”.
IMPORTANT NOTE from Dr. Castro: