Archive for May, 2013

Learning: The First Years

May 22, 2013

     Those first years of a child’s life are very important as concerns the rest of a child’s success in life.  Paul Tough, in his book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, illustrates one aspect of this early development – learning to cope with stress – with this little piece sharing the story of how baby rats got stressed out and what learning took place under specified conditions:

     “When baby rats got stressed out — when they were handled by lab technicians, let’s say — there were some mother rats who would lick and groom their baby rats and others who would not. And, so the scientists got interested in this one particular behavior, and they tried to figure out what kind of difference it made. As they did a series of experiments, they found out it made a huge difference. The rats who as babies were licked and groomed did much better on all sorts of things when they reached adulthood. They were braver, more curious; it had actually changed the shape of certain parts of their brains.
     “I think there’s a real parallel there for humans — we don’t know for sure that our brains work exactly like rat brains, but I think there’s a lot of parallels between that and research on attachment. Psychologists who have studied attachment have found that when human kids have that same kind of licking and grooming-style bonding with their parents, especially in the first year of life, it gives them all sorts of psychological strength, confidence [and] character that, when they reach school age and even into adulthood, will make a huge difference in how well they do.”
    So, what message does that have for all of us?  Over the years we’ve placed more and more responsibility for raising our children outside the home for a variety of reasons.  Is it possible that those children who are put into even the finest day-care situations do not receive that ‘. . grooming-style bonding . . ‘ that a child would receive from parents?  And, is it possible that we short change our children when we do not arrange for children to be nurtured in every way during those important first years?  Tough offers his personal assessment of this importance: (the underlines are mine!)
     “There are two stages [of parenthood] and it’s hard to tell where the transition goes from one to the other. When kids are really young — when they’re in their first year or two of life — my sense from the research is you can’t be too loving. … What kids need at that point is just support, attention, parents who are really attuned to the child’s needs. But at some point somewhere around 1, or 2 or 3, that really starts to change and what kids need is independence and challenge. And certainly as kids get into middle childhood and into adolescence, that’s exactly what they need. They need less parenting. … They need parents to really stand back, let them fall and get back up, let them fight their own battles.”
    So, what do we do now?  We all need to be aware of the importance of loving through grooming-style-bonding in that very first year!  When do we start?  There is no time like right now!

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Life as our Teacher

May 19, 2013

    What can we learn from kids and other living things?  There are times when I think I know that I forget to listen to other life forms for valuable lessons.  Have you done that?  Let’s take a quick look at what this might mean, and I promise I’ll end with a piece of valuable advice for all who love and work with our children!

    Plants tell us what they need and when they need it!  Skilled plant experts can look at a plant – the color of the leaves, are the leaves drooping or upright and strong?, the general appearance of the plant tells the expert (the adult) what it needs now.  We’ve all had the experience at one time or another of doing the exactly wrong thing and learning too late that we may have lost a valuable plant.  For me, it was the dieffenbachia – the dumb cane!  I can’t begin to tell you how many of these I’ve drowned before learning to ‘listen to the plant’.  So, the lesson of this paragraph is that we can learn from our plants valuable lessons about survival sometimes in severe conditions.

    Our pets tell us what they need and when they need it!  Each of us has had a special pet who seemed to be very much a part of our family, some members of families will tell us that the pets ‘ . . almost talk. .’.  The veterinarian, of course, can perform a number of tests to determine precisely what the pet needs, but for many of us, there are some old methods of determining what the pet needs – a warm nose, whining, lethargy, bloodshot eyes, shedding hair, not eating and many other symptoms alert the caring owner to pay attention to something.  When we ‘listen’ to the messages sent to us by our pets, we grow in patience, in love and understanding, and we learn that the unconditional love we receive from them might also serve us well.

    I’m sure none of you will be surprised when I say that our children tell us what they need and when they need it and often times teach us something as they share their observations or their reasoning.  Caring parents learn the messages of various kinds of communication with children.  This cry means this, that cry means that!  Every behavior of each child is designed to communicate something to knowing parents – the behaviors make sense to the child.  We must help parents and one another to correctly: 1) observe what the child does, and then 2) wisely and correctly interpret the behavior in order to deliver the satisfaction of the expressed need.  There is nothing easy in what I’m suggesting.  Helping children to grow into capable and responsible children is a full time task and it requires considering and understanding the child’s language and the need which must be addressed.  And, sometimes, if we’re listening with our ears, with our eyes and with our hearts we’ll also have a chance to learn – – from our children!   Have you ever learned a valuable lesson from a child?  You know I strive to teach by telling stories and this little tale shows us that even the talented teachers can learn something from their students.  

    Do you remember the teacher who asked her children this question:  “If there were 20 sheep in the pasture and one got out, how many sheep would be left in the pasture?”  She called on Billy who answered, “There would be none left in the pasture.”   She pushed on, “Are you sure, Billy – there would be None left!”  He said, “Yes, Maam!”  Still sure he knew the answer, her last attempt – “Look, Billy, if there were twenty, and only one got out, wouldn’t there be some left in the pasture?”  Billy had the last word, “Ma’m, you know your math, but you don’t know sheep!”

    The valuable lesson I’ve promised:  Let’s make it a point to listen – with our ears, our eyes, and our hearts – to all living things!  The world will be a better place for us all!

Changing the Music of our Lives

May 15, 2013

    Have you ever had a thought or an idea, tried to write it down and then think that maybe this isn’t ready for ‘prime-time’ yet?  That may be my situation here, but with your help, I can refine this thought and maybe write it up more completely at some future time.

    On the way home from church on Sunday, Denise said that she thought the music today was kind of dreary (I think that was her word!).  And, she continued, the music often sets the tone for the rest of the service.  I found my mind speeding ahead of her words to say to me, “Yep, she’s really on to something here.”

    So, let’s assume that this premise is correct – that the music of our lives sets the tone for the rest of our lives.  Can you hear the music from ‘Jaws’ just before that monster appears at – nearly over – the side of the boat?  Can you almost smell the clover and the spring flowers as you hear Julie Andrews sing “Climb every mountain”?  Do you still tremble when you hear the music of ‘Psycho’ picking up as Tony Perkins moves into another of his terrible deeds?  Can you listen to “Chariots of Fire” without envisioning men running on the beach?  Music sets the tone of our lives in many ways.  

    So, what has become the ‘music’ of our lives today – could it be the newscasts every hour on some channels, every minute on some other channels, all the time on still others?  Is it possible that our ‘music’ today is:  -scandals, -one group smearing another, -other group retaliating, -lies repeated over and over again until they seem to become the ‘truth’, -vicious attacks on some who don’t deserve the attack still will not fight back, -fighting back only to learn that it’s like pouring gasoline on a burning flame, -tragic events, -terrorism, -infidelity,  -political fund-raising, -misuse of monies (even monies which belong to others), -pornography, even on the mainline television shows, -profanity, need I go on?  Is it possible that the music of our lives today sets the tone for our lives and in an angry response we say to ourselves; “Nothing matters anymore!” and we become apathetic.  I once taught that apathy is nothing more than frozen violence.  Do you believe that to be true?

    Now, if even one word of this little diatribe makes sense to you or strikes a note of ‘Yep, I agree!’ in you, then we owe it to ourselves to find a way to change the music of our lives – at least that portion of the music over which we exercise control.  Dr. Andrew Weil has suggested at times that we all need to have a ‘television fast’ – a time without television at all.  In her blog, Wambui Bahati writes:  “For a wonderful, healthy and pleasurable experience, I challenge you and your family to take a TV fast.  TV addiction is real, and many people have difficulty breaking the TV habit.  Your eyes, your brain, your ears, and your whole body will thank you.  Take back your mind and your life.”  And, now you’ve taken the first step in ‘Changing the Music of your Life’!

    And, what can I put in its place?  Well, start with conversations with the people on your right and left who have been staring blankly at the television with you – each of you might find this ‘music’ productive and extremely helpful in the care and nurturing of your family members.  You might try some real ‘music’ from the Masters – music which will help you relax, to concentrate, to be creative and innovative, to think, to learn to enjoy quality instead of simply volume and rhythm.  In my workshop right now on my CD player I have a wonderful set of pieces written by Mozart and as I listen, I feel refreshed and more open to creating.

    Whenever you sense that the ‘music’ of your life is becoming a little ‘dreary’, a little ‘negative’, a little ‘downer’ instead of ‘upper’, a little depressing, know that you have a choice.  You can continue to listen that that ‘music’, or you can choose something vastly different.  

    I’m going to bet that once you’ve tried the more uplifting ‘music’ for your life, you’ll never again let yourself be influenced by that other kind!  Willing to give that a try?  It works wonders and you’ll like the result.

    And, one final note on this message:  Did I say it would be EASY?  Need to review?  Nope, this is not easy – if it were, we’d all be there now!  This is a difficult assignment, but I know you can do it, and you’ll be glad you did!  Time to Change the Music of Your Life!!

And, then it was winter

May 13, 2013

    Years ago as I worked training counselors at Winona State College I had the privilege of working with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler/Ross, our nation’s expert at that time in the area of Death and Dying.  One of the valuable thoughts I carry with me that I received from her was this:  “There are two really significant events in one’s life, birth and death.  I’ve already missed the first, I’ll not plan to miss the other!”  And, she anticipated death as a beginning of a new existence – one she experienced in August of 2004.  She strongly advocated that people LIVE every day of their lives – not missing anything which came their way!  And, she did that!  
    I was reminded of those days with Elisabeth today when I received this precious piece from a friend in Washington State – Thanks, Ruben!!  Ruben sent me this advice with the piece:  “I first started reading this eMail and was reading fast until I reached the third sentence.  I stopped and started over, reading slower and thinking about every word.  This eMail is very thought provoking.  Makes youstop and think.  Read slowly!

AND THEN IT IS WINTER
You know. . . time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.
 
But, here it is… the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise…How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go? I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.
 
But, here it is…my friends are retired and getting grey…they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me…but, I see the great change…Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant…but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be. Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore… it’s mandatory! ‘Cause if I don’t of my own free will… I just fall asleep where I sit!
 
And so…now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!! But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last…this I know, that when it’s over on this earth…it’s over. A new adventure will begin!
 
Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done…things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.
 
So, if you’re not in your winter yet…let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not! You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life…so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember…and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!  “Life” is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.
 
LIVE IT WELL! ENJOY TODAY! DO SOMETHING FUN! BE HAPPY!

HAVE A GREAT DAY!
 
Remember “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

MOTHER’S DAY: 2013!

May 10, 2013

    Sunday, May 12,2013, will be celebrated as Mother’s Day!  And, many people will purchase expensive gifts for mother, many families will gather in one home to celebrate with ‘Mom’.  People all over the earth will pay homage to that woman who brought them into this world.  Mother’s Day!  A Special Day for a Special Person!

    What should someone write to honor mothers and at the same time understand the pain that some women feel who, for some reason or another, are unable to be ‘mothers’?  I consider myself lucky in that I have a biological mother who gave birth to six children before she as called out of this earthly realm when I was just past my fourteenth birthday.  My father, needing help with raising six children, chose to marry a woman who had never been married, had never had children of her own and would never have any children, and who dedicated her life to easing the task that my father faced.  Also, in many ways, my paternal grandmother stepped into my life in a big way offering me the wisdom of age she had collected and she and my grandfather shared over fifty years together before they passed away.  Throughout this weekend, I’ll have in my thoughts my ‘three mothers’ and I’ll rejoice in knowing that each of them in their own way contributed time, love and attention to me at critical times in my life.

    Now, we don’t have to give birth to another to fill the role of ‘mother’, do we?  Think on these beautiful words written by Mr. Fred Rogers while he visited Marquette University to deliver a commencement address:

“I wonder if you’ve heard what happened at the Seattle Special Olympics a few years ago? For the 100-yard dash there were nine contestants, all of them so-called physically or mentally disabled. All nine of them assembled at the starting line; and, at the sound of the gun they took off-but one little boy stumbled and fell and hurt his knee and began to cry. The other eight children heard the boy crying. They slowed down, turned around, saw the boy and ran back to him-every one of them ran back to him. One little girl with Down Syndrome bent down and kissed the boy and said, “This will make it better.” The little boy got up, and he and the rest of the runners linked their arms together and joyfully walked to the finish line. They all finished the race at the same time. And when they did, everyone in the stadium stood up and clapped and whistled and cheered for a long, long time. People who were there are still telling the story with obvious delight. And you know why, because deep down, we know that what matters in this life is much more than winning for ourselves. What really matters is helping others win, too, even if it means slowing down and changing our course now and then. There’s a part of all of us that longs to know that even what’s weakest about us can ultimately count for something good.”

    At a special moment, one little fella needed a ‘mom’!  And, his call (the tears) brought eight little ‘moms’ to his side to assist him in this moment.  Did anyone refer to even one of those helping angels as ‘Mom’?  Probably not!  But, these beautiful little children heard a call for help, they responded as people so often do, and eased the pain of one of us!  

    We’ve all had moments when we wanted to cry as our world looked pretty bleak and our situation virtually hopeless.  At these moments, we need a mom – we need a helping hand, we need a shoulder to cry on, we need someone who is ‘there’ for us.  And, we can all give thanks on this Mother’s Day, 2013, for the number of Moms we have – Moms who may never have given birth to children themselves!

                                     Thanks, Moms, for all you do! 

              Thanks for being there when we needed you most! 

                             Thanks, Thanks, Thanks!!

Education: It’s about the kids!

May 9, 2013

    Schools are designed to give our kids an education and this education will become a ticket to better jobs, a more fulfilling life and abundant opportunity.  Kids are not only willing to learn, they are, in fact, anxious to learn.  And, in fairness to the kids’ oft stated requests, we adults have an obligation to present the lessons in such a way that the kids will do anything to learn and apply what they’ve learned in their daily lives.  And, furthermore, we adults have an obligation, in my opinion, to teach in such a way that parents can ask the kids at the end of the day two questions:  1) What did you learn today? and 2) How are you going to use that information?  When we make the lessons in school as important to the kids as is learning to ride a bicycle for the first time, we’ll never have to worry about motivation, about school attendance, about student misbehavior, or any of those things.  If we design the lessons so that the kids will perform better on the tests, the brightest and most creative and courageous kids will drift into some area where the learning is interesting and meaningful – maybe even enjoyable and satisfying.

    Now, having said that little bit, imagine that it’s 1944.  The society is much different this year and the schools are having about the same amount of difficulty seeing the reasoning behind some of the things the school offers.   Stephan M. Cory at the University of Chicago wrote this piece and it was published in ‘Childhood Education’.  It’s entitled:

                          “The Poor Scholar’s Soliloquy”    
      by Stephan M. Cory, University of Chicago 
January 1944 from “Childhood Education”

     No, I’m not very good in school. This is my second year in the seventh grade, and I’m bigger and taller than the other kids. They like me all right, though, even if I don’t say much in the classroom, because outside I can tell them how to do a lot of things. They tag me around and that sort of makes up for what goes on in school.
     I don’t know why the teachers don’t like me. They never have very much. Seems like they don’t think you know anything unless you can name the books it comes out of. I’ve got a lot of books in my room at home-books like Popular Science Mechanical Encyclopedia, and the Sears & Wards catalogues–but I don’t sit down and read them like they make us do in school. I use my books when I want to find something out, like whenever mom buys anything second-hand I look it up in Sears or Wards first and tell her if she’s getting stung or not. I can use the index in a hurry.
     In school, though, we’ve got to learn whatever is in the book and I just can’t memorize the stuff. Last year I stayed after school every night for two weeks trying to learn the names of the presidents. Of course, I knew some of them–like Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln, but there must have been thirty altogether, and I never did get them straight. I’m not too sorry though, because the kids who learned the presidents had to turn right around and learn all the vice-presidents. I am taking the seventh grade over, but our teacher this year isn’t so interested in the names of the presidents. She has us trying to learn the names of all the great American inventors.
     I guess I just can’t remember the names in history. Anyway, this year I’ve been trying to learn about trucks because my uncle owns three, and he says I can drive one when I’m sixteen. I already know the horsepower and number of forward and backward speeds of twenty-six American trucks, some of them Diesels, and I can spot each make a long way off. It’s funny how that Diesel works. I started to tell my teacher about it last Wednesday in science class when the pump we were using to make a vacuum in a bell jar got hot, but she, didn’t see what a Diesel engine had to do with our experiment on air pressure, so I just kept still. The kids seemed interested though. I took four of them around to my uncle’s garage after school, and we saw the mechanic, Gus, tear a big truck Diesel down. Boy does he know his stuff!
     I’m not very good in geography either. They call it economic geography this year. We’ve been studying the imports and exports of Chile all week, but I couldn’t tell what they are. Maybe the reason is I had to miss school yesterday because my uncle took me and his big truck down and we brought almost 10 tons of livestock to the Chicago market.
     He had told me where we were going, and I had to figure out the highways to take and also the mileage. He didn’t do anything but drive and turn where I told him to, Was that fun. I sat with a map in my lap, and told him to turn south, or southeast, or some other direction. We made seven stops, and drove over 500 miles round trip. I’m figuring now what his oil cost, and also the wear and tear on the truck–he calls it depreciation–so we’ll know how much we made.
     I even write out all the bills and send letters to the farmers about what their pigs and beef cattle brought at the stockyards. I only made three mistakes in 17 letters last time, my aunt said, all commas. She’s been through high school and reads them over. I wish I could write school themes that way. The last one I had to write was on, “What a Daffodil Thinks of Spring,” and I just couldn’t get going.
     I don’t do very well in school in arithmetic either. Seems I just can’t keep my mind on the problems. We had one the other day like this:
If a 57 foot telephone pole falls across a cement highway so that 17 3/6 feet extended from one side and 14 9/17 feet from the other how wide is the highway?
     That seemed to me like an awfully silly way to get the width of a highway. I didn’t even try to answer it because it didn’t say whether the pole had fallen straight across or not.
     Even in shop I don’t get very good grades. All of us kids made a broom holder and bookend this term, and mine were sloppy. I just couldn’t get interested. Mom doesn’t use a broom anymore with her vacuum cleaner, and all our books are in a bookcase with glass doors in the living room. Anyway, I wanted to make an end gate for my uncle’s trailer, but the shop teacher said that meant using metal and wood both, and I’d have to learn how to work with wood first. I didn’t see why, but I kept still and made a tie rack at school and the tail gate after school at my uncle’s garage. He said I saved him ten dollars.
     Civics is hard for me, too. I’ve been staying after school trying to learn the “Articles of Confederation” for almost a week, because the teacher said we couldn’t be a good citizen unless we did. I really tried, though, because I want to be a good citizen. I did hate to stay after school because a bunch of boys from the south end of town have been cleaning up the old lot across from Taylor’s Machine Shop to make a playground out of it for the little kids from the Methodist home. I made the jungle gym from old pipe. We raised enough money collecting scrap this month to build a wire fence clear around the lot.
     Dad says I can quit school when I am sixteen, and I am sort of anxious because there are a lot of things I want to learn–and as my uncle says, I’m not getting any younger.

   And, as I close this little lesson let me remind us all in the words sent to me by a dear friend in Indiana (Thanks, Wendell!) that our kids do learn from every thing that happens in their lives – sometimes they even apply their learning immediately:
It had been snowing for hours when an announcement came over the intercom: “Will the students who are parked on University Drive please move their cars so that we may beginning plowing.” Twenty minutes later there was another announcement: “Will the nine hundred students who went to move fourteen cars return to class.”

On Telling the Truth!

May 6, 2013

  In one of his many pieces, Max Lucado (a very talented pastor of the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, TX) tells a story of a man who has to ‘face the music’, and even though I can find no source which tells the same story, I think the point he makes is a valid one.  Max’s presentation:

“Many years ago a man conned his way into an orchestra although he could not play a note.  He would hold his flute against his lips, pretend to play but not make a sound.  Then one day the leader requested a solo from each musician. The man was panic stricken. On the day of his solo performance, he took poison and killed himself. The explanation of his suicide led to a phrase that found its way into the English language:  “He refused to face the music.”

    ‘To Tell the Truth or to Live a Lie’ that is really one basic question, isn’t it?  Lucado is very clear in his extension of this story to let people know that telling the truth – Facing the Music – is the better way to go – maybe the only way to go if we wish to continue our lives in peace and harmony.  On telling the truth, Mark Twain is said to have offered this thought:  “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything!”  But, he also is credited with this:  “When in doubt, tell the truth.” and this:  “Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain’t so.”  So, each of us is faced with the dilemma of whether or not we’ll be telling the truth.

    Each of us faces – perhaps more often than we want to admit – this dilemma:  Do I tell the truth when the truth may result in more difficulty over a short term for me or for those I care for?  Do I hide the truth (or cover it with dishonesty) when I know that over the long term this can be very harmful to me and to others?  We need to consider several dimensions of this, including this little element:  “The dishonest use of ‘truth’ may take for form of brutality!”  While it might be the truth to comment negatively about a friend or loved one, we might want to consider the feelings of another before we blurt out some ‘truth’ which could be more hurtful than helpful.  And, children need to be taught proper manners in the use of the truth – each one of us can tell of some statement made by an innocent child which cut someone else to their core.

    For my children, I encouraged the truth even in the face of potential punishment for revealing that truth.  Katie was riding her little bicycle in the upstairs of our garage on one rainy day when it would not have been pleasant outdoors when she crashed into a wall with the front wheel of her bike hitting the sheet-rock wall exactly half-way between two studs.  The wheel punched a pretty good-sized hole in that wall.  And, Katie came to me with this confession of truth:  “Daddy, I broke your wall!”  We fixed that wall and you wouldn’t be able to find that broken spot today.  Katie learned that the truth frees one from a troubled conscience.  Jamie was proudly stroking his tennis balls against the garage door on the front of that garage.  I warned him that one of those balls could break out one of the garage windows, but he ‘ . . assured . . ‘ me that this wouldn’t happen.  A very short time later, he didn’t need to hide for fear of punishment, he just said, “Guess what, Dad!”  I think the glass cost Jamie about $1.89 and we put it in together.  

    Imagine the weight of having to carry around these untruths!  We’re all smarter than that, aren’t we?  ‘To Tell The Truth or to Live A Lie’ – that is the question.

    So, how will you put this into your own life?  We all know people who have hidden the ‘untruths’ in their lives for a long time and need to worry constantly that someone will know the truth.  I have to ask myself how I’ll live my own life – with truth or without.  It’s my choice so I choose and if I choose to avoid the truth, at some time I may have to “Face the Music”! Let’s choose the truth – seems like that would be easier in the long run!!

Don’t Quit

May 5, 2013

    I’m returning to this blog at my wife’s request and I plan to spend more time writing for this blog than on my eMail address list!  My reason is that these blogs will be archived so that I can call them up when I want to refer to them or repeat some parts of them in the future.  I do hope you’ll feel free to respond to this message and any other that you find here!  Come along to see where this pathway can take us!!
    We’re living in tough times now and many people have just come to the end of their rope and are believing that ‘ . . it’s no use – I can’t get back to where I want to be. . ‘.  So, let me start anew with this blogging to encourage anyone of you who wants to quit to ‘hang in there’ – you might be closer to coming out of this than you think!

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,


When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,


When the funds are low and the debts are high,


And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,


When care is pressing you down a bit,


Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is odd at times with its twists and turns,


As every one of us sometimes learns,


And many a failure turns about,


When you might have won had you stuck it out;


Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–


You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,


It seems to a faint and faltering man,


Often the struggler has given up,


When he might have captured the victor’s cup,


And he learned too late when the night slipped down,


How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–


The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,


And you never can tell how close you are,


It may be near when it seems so far,


So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–


It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.