It was just another day on vacation for the Roosevelts in 1921. FDR spent the morning sailing around Campobello Island with Eleanor and his two older boys. They’d had quite an adventure. Seeing a small fire on another nearby island, they rushed and put it out as a family. When they got back, FDR and his sons raced each more than a mile to a swimming hole. And then later they jumped into the Bay of Fundy together.
You’ve probably had one of those days with your kids. Where you went from one fun activity to the next. Where you were really connected. Where you put aside work completely, ditched the phone, and just were a family. And if you haven’t yet, let us be the first to tell you—it’s exhausting… but wonderful.
For FDR, a busy man, like you, these days were too few. This one, in 1921, took on a special significance after the fact. Because, as Doris Kearnes Goodwin writes in her book, Leadership, within 48 hours, “paralysis had spread to [FDR’s] limbs, thumbs, toes, back, bladder, and rectal sphincter. Pain shot up and down his legs.” His life would never be the same. Never again would he race his boys on foot. Never again could he play and sail and dive with them without intense physical pain. In fact, he very nearly died.
The hard truth is that today could be that day for us. We have no idea what viruses or diseases are already making their way through our bodies. We have no idea what the future holds. So we must enjoy this moment. We must give everything we have to it—we must truly enjoy our kids and relish being a father.
It’s a special thing. You never know. Don’t waste it.