The Boy's Ideal
It is all in vain to preach the truth,
To the eager ears of a trusting youth,
If, whenever the lad is standing by,
He sees you cheat and hears you lie:
Fine words may grace the advice you give,
But youth will learn from the way you live,
Honor's a word that a thief may use,
High-sounding language the base may choose.
Speech is empty and preaching vain,
Though the truth shines clear and the lesson's plain;
If you play false, he will turn away,
For your life must square with the things you say.
He won't tread the path of your righteous talk,
But will follow the path which you daily walk.
"Not as I do, but do as I say,"
Won't win him to follow the better way;
Through the thin veneer of your speech he'll see
Unless you're the man you would have him be.
The longer you live you will find this true:
As you would teach, you must also do.
Rounded sentences, smooth and fair,
Were better not said if your deeds aren't square,
If you'd teach him to live to his very best
You must live your life by the self-same test.
- Edgar A. Guest
The Boy's Ideal
I must be fit for a boy to play with,
Fit for a youngster to walk away with,
Fit for his trust and fit to be
Ready to take him upon my knee;
Whether I win or lose my fight,
I must be fit for my boy at night.
I must be fit for a child to come to,
Speech there is that I must be dumb to.
I must be fit for his eyes to see,
He must find nothing of shame in me,
Whatever I make of myself, I must
Square to my boy's unfaltering trust.
I must be fit for a child's glad greeting,
His are eyes that there is no cheating;
He must behold me in every test,
Nat at my worst, but my very best;
He must be proud when my life is done,
To have men know that his is my son.
- Erwin Hirsh
For more on Parenting, see: SmithDRay's Parenting Page for links on parenting and a few quotes.