In honor of Father's Day, I wanted to share some of my favorite stories of presidential father/son relationships. Today, I'm focusing on a letter Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. sent to this son, the future president.
At the time, Theodore, Jr. was a sickly boy, frequently struck down by asthma and a range of other physical ailments. His father was always there to take care of him and whisk him away to whatever tranquil region was rumored to have the best air for asthmatics. But after years of late-night scares and countless failed remedies, father sat down and penned a letter to his son that is moving in its directness:
"Theodore, you have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must make your body. It is hard drudgery to make one's body, but I know you will do it."
Essentially, he was telling his son that he had to remake himself into a man in a physical sense if he ever hoped to become a person of consequence. It is undeniable that this letter and the encouragement that came with it set Roosevelt on the course that would eventually make him president and, thus, it is one of my favorite exchanges between a father and his son.