Kill Your Buck Fever by tmaples
September 29, 2007, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Books, Leadership, Manly men of history, Roles and Relationships

by T Maples 

I’ve just finished reading a biography “Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey: The River of Doubt” by Candice Millard.  It’s a step by step account of the former president’s rigorous expedition through the Amazon Rain Forest.  I will say I have a new respect for the man.   He was a rough and tough sun of a gun, however he didn’t grow up that way.  Millard paints him as a sickly, asthamatic, weak little boy.  He didn’t let that define his life though.  He fought to discipline his body and when it came time he raised his kids in the same fashion.

“So determined was Rooselvelt that his children grow up to be strong, fearless adults that he had said that he would ‘rather one of them should die than have them grow up weaklings.’  To ensure that none of them would ever be the kind of of weakling  he himself had been before he had resolved to ‘make’ his body, Roosevelt had put his children through frequent and, for some of them, terrifying tests of physical endurance and courage.  Most of these tests took place during what came to be known in the Roosevelt household as scrambles, long point-to-point walks led by Roosevelt himself.  The only rule during these walks was that the participants could go through, over, or under an obstacle, but never around it…’If a haystack was in the way we either climbed over it or burrowed through it.  If we came to a pond we swam across.’  Roosevelt used these scrambles, as well as other, seperate excursions, to attack his children’s wilderness fears, which he referred to as buck fever– ‘a state of intense nervous excitement which may be entirely divorced from timidity.’ (Pg. 202)

Roosevelt made a discipline out of killing fear and cultivating courage, he put his kids in situations that they had to face their fears.  In fact he proactively attacked fear, he didn’t give it the chance to get a foothold in his life. Are you aware of “buck fear” in your life?  Let’s attack it, let’s put it on its heals and keep driving it back. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear…”


3 Comments so far
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Isn’t he the same guy who said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself? What an icon! It’s amazing that a weak little boy became a man of gigantic stature.

Comment by Herman Najoli

Travis, I’m impressed you read an entire biography. My respect for you has gone way up!!

Comment by Dave Willis

I don’t want to toot my own horn but not only can I read, but I can also write my name in cursive too! Don’t tell anyone I’m trying to cultivate humility and I don’t want people to make a big deal out of it.

Comment by Travis

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