Wednesday, February 06, 2008

This excerpt from “Plain Living and High Thinking”, is in the chapter on Moral Courage and Self Culture, it discusses some of the necessary attributes we must learn growing up to be the best stewards of our life. This piece is on perseverance in school, but the application for all of life is easy.

“In addressing young men, I cannot conceive it to be necessary to repeat the usual copybook maxims in praise of industry. No one would undertake the work of self-culture who was not prepared to pursue it diligently. It is not the idler or the saunterer who feels any desire to discipline his heart or expand his mind. But I may at least insist upon the necessity of Perseverance.
I have known young men begin, like soldiers setting out on a march, with a flourish of trumpets. Books are painfully collected; a most elaborate and admirable scheme of study laid down – upon paper; a few problems are solved or a few questions answered; and then in the path of the would-be scholar springs up a giant difficulty. Immediately his heart fails him; he retreats. The books are thrown aside and the plan of study is abandoned on the plea that he is not clever enough for “that sort of thing”; he had overrated his talents; the work is above and beyond him. But what should we say if a general, on investing a fortress, drawing his parallels and designing his lines of circumvallation, suddenly withdrew because his men, in digging the first trench, came upon a hard soil? No; the student must persevere. Of course he will meet with difficulties; not one or two or half-a-dozen, but with a legion; only, as he advances, he will find each one easier to conquer than the last, and his continual successes will give him a spirit of easy confidence".

The picture is of Edward Gonzalez, 9, was born April 5, 1996 without legs for unknown reasons, leaving him with only a deformed foot. Soon after, his parents divorced and his mother Blanca Rascon was diagnosed with Lupus. As a baby his mother worked with him to get him to rollover and later crawl. Instead of sheltering him she encouraged him to achieve his goals. "If I would have felt sorry for him or did everything for him when he was little, he would not be where he is right now." Blanca said. Watching Edward move on his hands, get his own supplies in class or climb onto a counter for a glass of water is a result of that upbringing. More than his agile abilities, Edward is caring and positive and always looking after others. While spending time with Edward, I learned a lot about myself. How quickly problems seem trivial when following a boy only 31-inches tall who believes his life is perfect.

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