Character

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
—  Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses’
(This is the line on the 9 foot cross that stands on the summit of Observation Hill, Antarctica in memory of Captain Scott, RN and his four companions who died on their return from the Pole in March, 1912.)

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A Reflection On An Autumn Day
I took up a handful of grain and let it slip flowing through my fingers, and I said to myself: This is what it is all about. There is no longer any room for pretence. At harvest time the essence is revealed – the straw and chaff are set aside, they have done their job. The grain alone matters – sacks of pure gold.

So it is when a person dies the essence of that person is revealed. At the moment of death a person’s character stands out happy for the person who has forged it well over the years. Then it will not be the great achievement that will matter, nor, how much money or possessions a person has amassed. These like the straw and the chaff, will be left behind. It is what he has made of himself that will matter. Death can take away from us what we have, but it cannot rob us of who we are.
— Anonymous

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Success
To laugh often and love much;

To win the respect of intelligent persons
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And to endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one’s self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch
Or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know that even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived –
This is to have succeeded.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, poet and leader of the American transcendentalist movement (1803 – 1882)

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A GOOD MOTTO
“Let me be a little kinder,
Let me be a little blinder,
To the faults of those about me;
Let me praise a little more;
Let me be, when I am weary,
Just a little bit more cheery;
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am striving for;
Let me be a little braver,
When temptations bid me waver;
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be,
Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker;
Let me think more of my neighbour
And a little less of me.

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ONE YEAR TO LIVE
If I had but one year to live;
One year to help; one year to give;
One year to sing; one year to smile;
To brighten earth a little while;
One year to sing my Maker’s praise;
One year to fill with work my days;
One year to strive for a reward
When I should stand before my Lord,
I think that I would spend each day,
In just the very self-same way
That I do now. For from afar
The call may come to cross the bar
At any time, and I must be
Prepared to meet eternity.
So if I have one year to live,
Or just a day in which to give
A pleasant smile, a helping hand,
A mind that tries to understand
A fellow-creature when in need,
‘Tis one with me–I take no heed;
But try to live each day He sends
To serve my gracious Master’s ends.
—Unknown

 

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If
If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make your dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
— Rudyard Kipling, author and poet (1865 – 1936)

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Epitaph On William Muir
An Honest man here lies at rest,

As e’er God with his image blest;
the friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, and guide of youth:
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,
Few heads with knowledge so informed;
If there is another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.
— Robert Burns, celebrated Scottish poet and lyricist (1759 – 1796)

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Myself
I have to live with myself and so
I want to fit myself to know
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun

I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of person I really am
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect;
I want to deserve all men’s respect,
But here in the struggle for fame and self,
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know
That I’m bluster and bluff and empty show.

I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see.
I can never fool myself, and so,
I know what others may never know
Whatever happens I want to be–
Self-respecting and conscience-free!

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Ten Commandments Of Human Relations
1. Speak to people. There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
2. Smile at people. It takes seventy two muscles to frown, only fourteen to smile.
3. Call people by name. The sweetest music to anyone’s ears is the sound of his own name.
4. Be friendly and helpful. If you would have friends, be friendly.
5. Be cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do is genuinely a pleasure.
6. Be genuinely interested in people. You can like almost everybody if you try.
7. Be generous with praise–cautious with criticism.
8. Be considerate with the feelings of others. There are usually three sides to a controversy; yours, the other fellow’s and the right one.
9. Be alert to give service. What counts most in life is what we do for others.
10. Add to this a good sense of humour, a big dose of patience, and a dash of humility, and you will be rewarded manyfold.
— Bible Tract Bulletin

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Myself
I have to live with myself and so
I want to fit myself to know
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun

I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of person I really am
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect;
I want to deserve all men’s respect,
But here in the struggle for fame and self,
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know
That I’m bluster and bluff and empty show.

I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see.
I can never fool myself, and so,
I know what others may never know
Whatever happens I want to be–
Self-respecting and conscience-free!

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Let us now praise famous men
Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.

The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning.

Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies: leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent in their instructions: such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writing: rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations:

All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.

There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.

And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished as though they had never been; and their children after them. But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten. Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.
— Ecclesiastes 44

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And Seeing The Multitudes, He Went Up Into A Mountain
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their’s is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
— Matthew 5: 1-12