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Inspiration from John F. Kennedy

Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was the 35th President of the United States.

Success is determination and perseverance. Growing up, John was in constant competition with his older brother Joe who had the advantage of being physically stronger and earning better grades in school. John never gave in or gave up and pushed himself to make many great accomplishments.

Success is having an attractive personality. Many respected President Kennedy’s coolness when faced with difficult decisions—like what to do about the missiles in Cuba. Others admired his ability to inspire people with his eloquent speeches. Still others thought his compassion and his willingness to fight for new government programs to help the poor, the elderly and the ill were most important.

Success is making waves. In addition to being the youngest President ever elected at age 43, President Kennedy was also the first Roman Catholic President.

Success is making the best use of your time. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history.

Success is understanding the power of goals. From the moment President Kennedy took office, he implemented and executed both short-term and long-term goals. In his short term in office, he had accomplished more than most Presidents had in their complete terms.

Success is sharing and caring. President Kennedy established the Peace Corps in March 1961. Through this program many young Americans were encouraged to contribute their skills to “sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace.”

Success is understanding the importance of family. When President Kennedy was in office, the White House was reported to have seemed like a “fun place,” because of the Kennedy’s two young children, Caroline and John-John. There was a pre-school, a swimming pool, and a tree house outside on the White House lawn. President Kennedy was probably the busiest man in the country, but he still found time to laugh and play with his children.

Success is making informed decisions based on adequate information. President Kennedy read several newspapers while eating breakfast, had meetings with important people throughout the day, and read several reports from his advisers. He understood that better information led to better decisions.

Success is earning the admiration of others. John F. Kennedy was most admired for his winning personality, his lively family, his intelligence and his tireless energy, and people respected his courage in time of decision.

[Sources: http://www.biography.com, http://www.whitehouse.gov, http://www.jfklibrary.org]


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  • What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)
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    Bo Bennett, PhD
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