2.09.2005

A Mother's Wish

On my birthday in 1970, my mother gave me a small book containing a poem. Our family was experiencing the stress of a nasty divorce. I am the oldest of the children and at the time, I was thrust into the position of being the man of the house. My mother, perhaps sensing some of the difficulties I would be facing, gave me this book. Partly as support, partly a wish that she hoped I would fulfill one day.
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. And make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired of 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 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 impostors 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 them 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!

If
by Rudyard Kipling


I have kept this book all these years and though the pages worn, the binding cracked, I find myself reading it often. And with each reading, I come to understand a bit more of it's meaning and what's more, I love my mother more for having shown me the message. I hope that I can reach this measure and make her proud.

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