July 23 ~ Attitude A Girl of the Limberlosts

"Attitudes are more important than facts." ~ Karl A. Menninger

Menninger, Karl

A leader in the treatment and prevention of mental illness, Karl Augustus Menninger (18931990) was born on this day. In 1925, his family founded one of the world's most renown psychiatric clinics in his hometown of Topeka, Kansas.

"Set up as an ideal the facing of reality as honestly and as cheerfully as possible," he once said.

The distinguished Menninger, often called the dean of American psychiatry, believed in the power of love. "Love is a medicine for the sickness of the world," he observed. "A prescription often given, too rarely taken."

In 1946, the Menninger School of Psychiatry was established and became the largest training center in the country to help treat military veterans returning from World War II. He also was an advocate for world peace and nuclear disarmament.

He said, "Hope is an adventure, a going forward, a confident search for a rewarding life."

A pioneer and visionary, he supported the human rights of the disadvantaged--wherever there was a need-- championing the causes of the American Indians, neglected children, the mentally ill, and those in prison.

Menninger believed that a lack of parental love and attention was at the heart of the destructive behavior of individuals. Crime was a by-product of mental or emotional illness.

"Love cures. It cures those who give it and it cures those who receive it," said Menninger.

A best-selling author, his landmark books The Human Mind (1930) and Man Against Himself (1938) celebrated the need for individuals to have self-respect and self-understanding. The tenets became an introduction to psychiatry for students.

"Man can't help hoping even if he is a scientist. He can only hope more accurately," he said.

Menninger received the 1981 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award.

A positive attitude can help make dreams come true.