Ray and I brought home a few small souvenirs from our honeymoon trip to the Chattanooga Choo Choo in 1974. Among them was a reproduction of a campaign poster from the 1924 presidential campaign when Calvin Coolidge ran successfully as the Republican candidate. Our poster encouraged Americans to “Keep Cool with Coolidge.”
Neither Ray nor I remember why we were attracted to a “Keep Cool with Coolidge” poster. I don’t think I knew anything about him at the time besides the fact that he had served as president. Even though Ray was getting his Master’s in history, he didn’t have a particular interest in President Coolidge.
We didn’t know then that we would become Coolidge fans almost twenty years later when our daughter Mary Evelyn did an independent study about presidents while homeschooling in high school. What attracted her to Coolidge was his character. Her interest was so strong that, as I have written about before, she chose Coolidge’s birthplace in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, as the destination of her senior trip.
President Coolidge is remembered mainly as “Silent Cal” who was pro-business. I don’t think he would be included in many people’s lists of our greatest American presidents, but he would be on mine. Let me share some of his quotes to illustrate why:
“In politics, nothing is worth having, if you can’t have it the right way.”
“Substitute the midnight oil for the limelight.”
“Integrity, honesty and simplicity is what I have tried to stand for.”
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race . . . “
“We do not need more material development, we need more spiritual development, we do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power . . . . We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more laws, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.”
History has not remembered President Coolidge accurately. He is often misunderstood. Perhaps you feel misunderstood, too, in some area, particularly by people you know who do not homeschool. Calvin Coolidge learned to live his convictions without letting the opinions of others make him untrue to what he genuinely believed — just like you do. Hang in there even when you are misunderstood.
Therefore, we do not lose heart,
but though our outer man is decaying,
yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us
an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
while we look not at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen;
for the things which are seen are temporal,
but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
It has been so rewarding for me to meet some of you at conventions this year. Thank you to those of you who introduced yourself to me yesterday in Cincinnati. I’m so proud of all of you for what you do every day.