Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Not to be unhappy is unhappyness,
And misery to t'have known miserie;
For the best way unto discretion is
The way that leads us by adversitie;
And men are better shew'd what is amisse,
By th'expert finger of calamitie,
Than they can be with all that fortune brings,
Who never shewes them the true face of things."

It is natural to wish for the best of things for our children;
and we find ourselves hoping they will not struggle.
But as I have watched my children and grandchildren grow,
I see the truth in the above quote. Wish it were not so, but
depth of character and learning oneself, can not come in shelter.

Quote by Daniel, photo by John Fisher

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The following quote is from a poem by James Whitcomb Riley, a contemporary of Mark Twain and known for his poems in "Hoosier Dialect". In this poem he is describing a man, Doc. Sifers, whom he looks up to above all others and this little piece describes Doc. Sifer's impression after meeting a man of great notoriety and prominence......
"I met a great man onc't," Doc says, "and shuk his hand," says he,
"And he come 'bout in one, I guess, o' disapp'intin' me ---
He talked so common-like, and brought his mind so cle'r in view
and simple-like, I purt nigh thought, 'I'm best man o' the two!"

It's a rare thing to meet someone whom the world gives great applause to and find them humble. In this meeting Doc. Sifers found this man so genuine and humble, and willing to talk and share that he not only felt the man's equal but the man was so humble he left feeling like he was the better man.
I have to admit I have met many men but most I have left feeling as though I were in some sort of contest of wits. But truly great men need not prove anything, their praise comes from others and they became great by learning from everyone they come in contact with.

Photo from the Internet

Saturday, August 06, 2011


I'm reading in my new old book by Samuel Smiles titled "Character". It is rich in illustrations and guidance about character. In the following piece he tells of Edward Freer, a French soldier and the power of his influence. It picks up with a narrative listing the many who died in the battle.

"In so doing it lost many brave men, and of two who fell I will speak.

The first, low in rank, Edward Freer, being but a lieutenant, was rich in honor, for he bore many scars and was young of days. He was only nineteen, and had seen more combats and sieges than he could count years. Slight in person, and of such surpassing and delicate beauty that the Spaniards often thought him a girl disguised in man’s clothing, he was yet so vigorous, so active, so brave, that the most daring and experienced veterans watched his looks on the field of battle, and would obey his slightest sign in the most difficult situations. His education was incomplete, yet were his natural powers so happy the keenest and best-furnished intellects shrunk from an encounter of wit. And all his thoughts and aspirations were proud and noble, indicating future greatness if destiny had so willed it."

I like this illustration of the power of character and Smiles goes on to say that – “Character tells in all conditions of life. The man of good character in a workshop will give the tone to his fellows, and elevate their entire aspirations. Thus Franklin, while a workman in London, is said to have reformed the manners of an entire workshop”.

I have certainly seen this play out over and over at Teen Challenge, where one man who is serious and devout sends ripples across the entire men’s population for good.

The above picture is of a young girl who just recently gained access to an education and is eager to help those who struggle as well.

Photo by Matt Blauer

"You insist," wrote Perthes to a friend, "on respect for learned men. I say, Amen! But, at the same time don't forget that largeness of mind, depth of thought, appreciation of the lofty, experience of the world, delicacy of manner, tact and energy in action, love of truth, honesty, and amiability ---
that all these may be wanting in a man who may yet be very learned." Samuel Smiles