This is the 2nd blog post from a very special guest blogger: my maternal Grandfather: Clyde W. Kirkman (1915 – 1989). Please see the 1st article, Progress Never Begins for Any Man until He Substitutes Dreams and Talk with Action, for more information.
One thing I find amazing is that this article is as pertinent and timely today as it was when he wrote it, probably 30 some or more years ago.
Have we Forgotten
Have we forgotten that it is a self evident truth that the strength and stability of a nation is in proportion to the character of its individual people? For no government is stronger than its people. A strong government depends on people who will work for what they want, people with tolerance, ambition, kindness, intelligence and good common sense.
In spite of this fact, the majority of the people in the United States are the kind who spend their lives expecting to be happy at some future date. They seem to be waiting for someone to come along and dump happiness and prosperity into their laps without them so much as turning a hand. These are not the kind of people we need in the world today.
We need people who will work for what they and their nation need and want, and who will do it today – now. Have we forgotten that real happiness – pure and complete happiness – lies not in trying to make our own selves happy but in trying to make others happy?
Have we forgotten that material pursuits, the quest for riches, and the desire for personal popularity, and the pomp of powers do not in themselves bring contentment? By the observation of present day morals and standards, it is evident that we have forgotten.
We have forgotten with the full realization that our greatest teacher, the history of our ancestors, proves that spiritual knowledge and practical application of spiritual qualities alone bring real peace and happiness. Yet how many families do you know that can spend one evening at home together, having no outside entertainment and be content with family fellowship? It is a pitiful few.
In spite of this fact we know that our nation and our government cannot possibly be any stronger than our family life.
Therefore, we must not forget that the need for clear thinking and a pure sense of direction has never been so urgent as now.
We must garrison our souls with pure and righteous thinking in the face of the dangerous and destructive doctrines that assail us from all sides. We must champion the cause of common sense and social stability, despite political dissension and claptrap. Yet we must be tolerant toward those who are victims of false standards. We must keep our spiritual investments sound and secure, although material power flaunts its defiant force and threatens social disintegration. We must cultivate more patience, good will, serenity, tolerance, sympathy and humility.
Have we forgotten that in simple thrift and economy, we must make our homes independent? Let us in frugal industry make them self sustaining. In sacrifice and denial, let us keep them free from debt and obligation. Let us make them homes of refinement in which we shall teach our daughters that modesty, patience and gentleness are the charms of a woman. Let us make them temples of liberty and teach our sons that an honest conscience is every man’s first law, that his supremacy rest beneath his hat, and that no splendor can rob him and no force justify the surrender of the simplest right of a free and independent citizen. Above all, we must teach them the Bible, that book of books in which all the ways of life are made straight and the mystery of death is made plain. By these means we may confidently hope to save the world from dire calamity and erect a cathedral of life in which all men may find a peaceful habitation.
Have we forgotten that our history proves beyond any doubt that the simple things are really the great things in life? That back of the national capitol and above it stands the home, and back of the president and above him stands the citizen? What the home is, this, and nothing else, will the capitol be. What the citizen wills, this and nothing else, will the government be.
Clyde W. Kirkman