27 years ago, my middle school teacher, Mrs. Herbster, had us memorize the poem “If–” by Rudyard Kipling. Kipling might be best known as the author of The Jungle Book, which Disney made into movie that included a brown boy in a loin cloth, a snake with twirling, zombie eyes, and a blue talking and singing bear.
I thought I would really impress my former teacher all these years later by reciting it, as part of my speech to the graduates, during their celebratory luncheon at Christian Fellowship Academy this Monday.
See, I have this great memory. I just have to read things a few times–and boom–they’re in my hard drive. No. This used to be true, but I haven’t upgraded my memory, and my hard drive has loads of non sense on it. I tried it, but could only remember the first four lines. SIGH…. hmmp.
I still want to read it to them, on Monday, though. It’s GREAT advice. Maybe you’ll get something out of it too.
Tell me what you think about it.
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 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 ‘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 breathe 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!