Remarks in North Adams, Massachusetts

June 22, 1905

I admire a great many of Massachusetts' products, but I think the product of the children is the best. I want, through the mayor, to congratulate you that they seem to be all right in quality and quantity both. These same children are the men and women who, 15 or 20 years hence, will be shaping the destiny of this nation, and they will shape it well or ill, accordingly as they are now brought up. You often see the man who, though he may not say that, thinks he himself is a hard worker, yet does not train his boys to work hard themselves. Now, that father and mother think they are being kind to the children. They are not. That sort of kindness is a curse for those for whom it is nominally exercised. I ask, if in the past we have accomplished anything as a nation, if it is not that we have had making up that nation men and women who did not shrink from work. The same qualities that count in the army and the navy are what we need and wish to make the best civilization in the world.

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks in North Adams, Massachusetts Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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