Reagan’s Commencement Address

Ronald Reagan’s

Commencement Address

at Eureka College, June 7, 1957


“Almost two centuries ago a group of disturbed men met in the small Pennsylvania State House they gathered to decide on a course of action. Behind the locked and guarded doors they debated for hours whether or not to sign the Declaration which had been presented for their consideration. For hours the talk was treason and its price the headsman’s axe, the gallows and noose. The talk went on and decision was not forthcoming. Then, Jefferson writes, a voice was heard coming from the balcony:

They may stretch our necks on all the gibbets in the land. They may turn every tree into a gallow, every home into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die. They may pour our blood on a thousand scaffolds and yet from every drop that dyes the axe a new champion of freedom will spring into birth. The words of this declaration will live long after our bones are dust. To the mechanic in his workshop they will speak hope; to the slave in the mines, freedom; but to the coward rulers, these words will speak in tones of warning they cannot help but hear. Sign that parchment. Sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck. Sign if the next minute this hall rings with the clash of falling axes! Sign by all your hopes in life or death, not only for yourselves but for all ages, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom the bible of the rights of man forever. Were my soul trembling on the verge of eternity, my hand freezing in death, I would still implore you to remember this truth God has given America to be free.

As he finished, the speaker sank back in his seat exhausted. Inspired by his eloquence the delegates rushed forward to sign the Declaration of Independence. When they turned to thank the speaker for his timely words he couldn’t be found and to this day no one knows who he was or how he entered or left the guarded room.

Here was the first challenge to the people of this new land, the charging of this nation with a responsibility to all mankind. And down through the years with but few lapses the people of America have fulfilled their destiny.

Almost a century and a half after that day in Philadelphia, this nation entered a great world conflict in Europe. Volumes of cynical words have been written about that war and our part in it. Our motives have been questioned and there has been talk of ulterior motives in high places, of world markets and balance of power. But all the words of all the cynics cannot erase the fact that millions of Americans sacrificed, fought and many died in the sincere and selfless belief that they were making the world safe for democracy and advancing the cause of freedom for all men.

A quarter of a century later America went into World War II, and never in the history of man had the issues of right and wrong been so clearly defined, so much so that it makes one question how anyone could have remained neutral. And again in the greatest mass undertaking the world has ever seen, America fulfilled her destiny.

A short time after that war was concluded a plane was winging its way across the Pacific Ocean. It contained dignitaries of the Philippines and of our own government. Landing at a naval installation a short distance from Manila, the plane was held there while those people listened by radio to the first detonation of an experimental atomic weapon at the Bikini Atoll. Then the plane took to the air again and soon landed in Manila. There these people, together with our vice president, senators, generals and admirals, met with 250,000 Philippines in the Grand Concourse, where they watched the American flag come down and the flag of the Philippine independence take its place.

I was privileged to sit in an auditorium one night and hear one of the passengers on that plane, a great man of the Philippines, describe this scene, General Carlos Romulo, whose father was killed by American soldiers in the Philippine insurrection. As a boy, the General was taught to be a guerrilla and to fight Americans and hate them. But I saw him, with tears in his eyes, tell us how he turned to his wife that day in Manila and said, a hundred years from now will our children’s children learn in their schoolrooms that on this day an atomic weapon was detonated for the first time on a Pacific Island, or will they learn that on another Pacific Island a great and powerful nation, which had bled the flower of its youth into the sands of the island’s beaches reconquering them from a savage enemy, had on this day turned to the people of that island and for the first time in the history of man’s relationship to man had said, ‘Here, we’ve taken your country back for you. It’s yours. As we heard him, I think most of us realized once again the magnitude of the challenge of our destiny, that here indeed is “the last best hope of man on earth.”

And now today we find ourselves involved in another struggle this time called a cold war. This cold war between great sovereign nations isn’t really a new struggle at all. It is the oldest struggle of human kind, as old as man himself. This is a simple struggle between those of us who believe that man has the dignity and sacred right and the ability to choose and shape his own destiny and those who do not so believe. This irreconcilable conflict is between those who believe in the sanctity of individual freedom and those who believe in the supremacy of the state.”

Over a half a century after this speech, the cold war was won by this man and now is the battle for freedom has been in Iraq, then Afghanistan and now America itself. America is still “the last best hope for mankind.” Please vote in this election. Our country’s future is at stake.

– Bob

Connecting the Dots of Life – A message to our graduates

I was reading an article in the paper the other day, about the difficulties and anxieties high school students have in determining the path their futures should take. The article missed a significant factor however. It mentioned nothing about the parents’ anxiety in trying to help their children make the decision. As parents, we can also experience anxiety because we sense a God-given responsibility to “train up a child in the way they should go“, and we often can’t discern which specific way is for them. We want to help our children into their life calling, but honestly, most of us don’t exactly know how to do it. The options are so numerous: Do we set them on the educational treadmill and send them to college? If so, how do we help them determine what field to major in? Or instead, do we encourage them to develop manual trade skills, or become business entrepreneurs and be self -employed? There is also the option of full-time service on the mission field, or serving people full-time in the Church, but even then, one has to determine what skills would be most needed on the mission field? There are so many options and how does one know, for sure, which path our children are to walk down?

Here’s a suggestion that may bring a calm and peace into the situation. Draw from your own life experience and explain to your children how you came to do what you are doing in life. No, I’m serious! You can also look at the poor decisions you made that didn’t work out very well, and explain what you’d rather have done. Unfortunately, for most of us, we can’t find a formula for success for them to follow, and that’s the point. There really isn’t a formula to follow. The reality is that most of us are doing some form of work that we had not planned to do. At some point in our lives an opportunity came our way and we took it, or fell into it. For many of us, it wasn’t even in the field we were trained in and yet we have a peace that God led us to the point we are at. If that’s not clear, then here’s a word picture that can help you sense the leading of God in your life, which can give your children peace in the midst of these decisions.

I remember when I was a little child and I came upon my first connect the dots game. All I could see were little dots on a sheet of paper and I was told that if I would draw lines between the numbered dots, in the right order, I would be able to see a hidden picture. So I drew lines connecting the dots and voila! I suddenly saw a picture of a little animal that seemed to have come out of nowhere! I was amazed that I could now see something I couldn’t see before. Connecting the dots brought order out of confusion and revealed the purpose for the random dots and that was exciting for a 5 year-old boy.

Today, I find that I am still am connecting the dots of life. I look back on my life and see various events, that at the time didn’t seem to have any significance, and yet in retrospect, I could see that they led to other major events happening that would not have happened otherwise. I began to see that God has been directing my life all along. Looking backwards and connecting the dots, we can see that God uses three types of dots, or events in our lives that make us into the people we are. There are: I) Injurious Dots, II) Impulsive Dots, and III) Insignificant Dots.

I) Injurious Dots:
Going through distressing events is painful. They injure and hurt us. They are inconvenient, bothersome, irritating and sometimes overwhelming, and life is full of such events that bring us sorrow and discomfort. We sometimes question how a loving God would allow us to go through such suffering and pain. Eventually, if we use these circumstances to us draw nigh unto God, we will begin to see that good things can come out of bad events. I once heard a sermon entitled, Good and Evil Run On Parallel Tracks and Arrive In The Station At The Same Time. It said, out of some of the worst circumstances we go through, some unexpected and good things come into our lives. They bless our lives. Sometimes these are things are so precious that even if we had the power to change those painful circumstances, if it meant we would have to give up blessings, we wouldn’t use the power. Looking back on the events, we see now, that we didn’t have to be so distraught at the time. By connecting the dots we can see that we could have rested in the Lord and had faith, peace and even joy, knowing that God was going to eventually bring something good to come out of the ashes of despair and pain. Looking back we see that the injurious events were necessary ingredients in making us into the people God wanted us to be. We wouldn’t have suffered so much anxiety and turmoil if we had known then how it would turn out.

2) Intuitive (Impulsive) Dots:
There are times in our lives when it is good to be impractical. Sometimes God’s Spirit moves us to do something that doesn’t make any common sense. Common sense is common to all people. We need to have supernatural sense and follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit. People may not understand why we do some things and think we’re impulsive. We may not understand why we do some things, yet sense an intuitive prompting. It takes a lot of courage and faith to do the unconventional. This may be pursuing a dream God gave you, or being prompted to do something radically different with your life. There is a lot of pressure put on us to seek comfort and conform to do what everybody else is doing. Sometimes God works in very unconventional ways to direct us on towards the path of our life calling. Looking back on these events in your life, you begin to see that God used them to bring you into new experiences and blessings. When God prompts us to walk through an open door of opportunity, it takes a lot of courage and faith to get out of our comfort zone and follow that prompting, yet when we look back and connect the dots, we see these intuitive experiences are integral to our calling .

3) Insignificant Dots:
Another one of those dots that bring meaning into our lives are what we thought were insignificant events. At the time, the decision seemed like such a trivial and ordinary thing. Yet, when we look back, we discover that it was a serendipity and a major turning point in our lives that we weren’t conscious of it at the time.

As you begin to look back on your own life, look for these three types of experiences and begin connecting the dots. It will be illuminating to you and so helpful to your children.

The following is an example of connecting the dots of life by Steve Jobs, (CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios). In his address to the graduates at the Commencement Ceremony of Stanford University on June 12, 2005, he simply connected some the dots of his life to the graduates. His speech will be in italics and I will insert the headings of this outline and comments into his speech in normal type.

Watch Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech – “Connecting The Dots”

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots. I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

(I. Injurious Dot)
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him? They said: Of course. My biological mother then found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life.

(II. Intuitive/ Impulsive Dot)
So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

(III. Insignificant Dot)
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.

If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something ó your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

(Comment: Notice how Steve trusts that there was something directing his life through these events, but he sadly doesn’t know who, or what it is. We’ll also see that these injurious, intuitive and insignificant events are cyclical in his life, as he continues his story)

My second story is about love and loss. I was lucky I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation ó the Macintosh ó a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out.

When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me ó I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love… Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it.

(Comment: Isn’t it remarkable that Steve tells the students to keep the faith, but is not able to tell them who they are to have faith in? He describes himself as a “patient” but is unaware who the Doctor is that is prescribing these events in his life. He concludes with this story…)

My third story is about death. When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right. It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been No for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything ó all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma ó which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Comment: Amazing speech isn’t it? He knows there is something directing his life, but he doesn’t know who He is. Perhaps, now you know how Paul felt when he said to the people on Mar’s Hill, who worshipped the Unknown God, Him I declare unto you!

History lesson: In 600 BC the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus first called this “Unknown God” the “Logos”. He said the Logos is the Creator who has a rational plan and reason for creating the world, and a purpose for creating each individual. He is the one who set all things in order and is directing life towards a specific end. Heraclitus knew He was there, he just didn’t know who He was, or how to come in contact with Him. The word Logos comes from the Greek word lego which means to connect. The Logos connects the rational mind of God with the mind of man, so man can know God’s ways and the purpose of life and connect the dots of life. Heraclitus could not make the connection. It remained a mystery to him, yet he knew there must be a Logos ñ he just could not reason himself to discover it. On a large scale, the Logos has interacted with mankind since the dawn of time and has intervened throughout history directing life on earth towards its ultimate destination; i.e. the return of Christ to earth in the last act of the Drama of the Redemption of Mankind.

At a certain point in history, about 2000 years ago, this Logos (translated into English as the “Word“) became flesh and dwelt among us. The Apostle John boldly exclaims that Jesus Christ is the Logos. He came unto his own and His own received him not, but as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the son’s of God; even to them who believe on His name. That means if we receive Him and become born into the spiritual dimension, we can interact with the Logos, Who created us, and Who can reveal the purpose for the random dots of our lives. We can then connect those dots and we will see that the image being drawn is the image of Christ Himself.

This is the message of Christmas; that God came to earth and was made in the image of man. Mankind had such a lack of love that we pushed Him away and we killed Him. He conquered death and came back to life and is alive even now. He knocks on the door of our hearts and wants to enter. If we let Him in, we will then interact with Him (as God did with Adam in the Garden) and He will mold our lives back into the image of God. If you haven’t yet, will you surrender to Him so you will be able to look back and connect the dots of your life? Only then can you look ahead with confidence, faith and trust knowing that a loving and compassionate God will continue to supernaturally direct your life. Only then will you get to the end of your life you can look back and say like Paul, “I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.” I have connected the dots of my life, and I can see Christ!

– Bob

A Message to Garcia

Elbert Hubbard

Elbert Hubbard

During the IBLP Basic Seminar Mr. Gothard mentions a certain magazine article that became so popular, people began requesting extra copies of it. The New York Central Railroad had over one and one half million copies of it printed. It was translated into Russian and given to every railroad employee in Russia. Other countries took it up and it was passed into Germany, France, Spain, Turkey. Hindustan and China. Every Russian soldier who went to the front during the Russia – Japan War got a copy of this article. It was found on Russian prisoners and then translated into Japanese and given to every man employed in the Japanese government. It has been translated into every written language on earth with over forty million copies printed. There’s something about this message that has universal appeal, especially for those of us who are training our children at home.

A Message to Garcia

In all this Cuban business there is one man stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain fastnesses of Cuba – no one knew where. No mail or telegraph could reach him. The President must secure his co-operation, and quickly.

What to do!

Someone said to the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.” Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and having delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail. The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?”

By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this or that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; do the thing – “carry a message to Garcia!”

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias. No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well-nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man – the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it.

Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant.

You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office—six clerks are within your call. Summon any one and make this request: “Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Corregio.” Will the clerk quietly say, “Yes, sir,” and go do the task?

On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye, and ask one or more of the following questions:

  • Who was he?
  • Which encyclopedia?
  • Where is the encyclopedia?
  • Was I hired for that?
  • Don’t you mean Bismarck?
  • What’s the matter with Charlie doing it?
  • Is he dead? Is there any hurry?
  • Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?
  • What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the 2 other clerks to help him find Garcia – and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not. Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your “assistant” that Corregio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile sweetly and say, “Never mind,” and go look it up yourself. And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all?

A first mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night holds many a worker in his place. Advertise for a stenographer, and nine times out of ten who apply can neither spell nor punctuate – and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia? “You see that bookkeeper,” said the foreman to me in a large factory.

“Yes, what about him?”

“Well, he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him to town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and, on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for.” Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the “down-trodden denizen of the sweat shop” and the “homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,” and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with “help” that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away “help” that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, this sorting is done finer – but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go. It is the survival of the fittest. self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best-those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to anyone else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress, him. He can not give orders, and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, “Take it yourself.” Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular firebrand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot. Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in your pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold the line in dowdy indifference, slipshod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds – the man who, against great odds, has directed the efforts of others, and, having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes. I have carried a dinner-pail and worked for a day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous. My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks will be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town, and village – in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly—the man who can Carry a message to Garcia.

The world bestows its big prizes, both in money and honors, for but one thing. And that is Initiative. What is Initiative? I’ll tell you: It is doing the right thing without being told. But next to doing the thing without being told, is to do it when you are told once. That is to say, carry the Message to Garcia: those who can carry a message get high honors, but their pay is not always in proportion. Next, there are those who never do a thing until they are told twice: such get no honors and small pay. Next, there are those who do the right thing only when Necessity kicks them from behind, and these get indifference instead of honors, and a pittance for pay. This kind spends most of its time polishing a bench with a hard-luck story. Then, still lower down in the scale than this, we have the fellow who will not do the right thing even when someone goes along to show him how and stays to see that he does it: he is always out of a job, and receives the contempt he deserves, unless he happens to have a rich Pa, in which case Destiny patiently awaits around the corner with a stuffed club. To which class do you belong?

Elbert Hubbard -1899

You can see why that theme strikes deep into the heart of the people of every culture. People everywhere see the benefit of having Godly character and just doing what you ought to do.

It only underscores the importance of our emphasizing this to our children while we educate them at home. May you and yours have a blessed remainder of the school year!