Monday, May 03, 2010

Marks of a Masterful People

As I grow older I think more about what it takes to develop future generations of leaders, and good citizens all-around. This is not a new problem! Just over 100 years ago Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech in Paris, which was later crafted into a book titled "Citizenship in a Republic."

The most often quoted passage from that speech is this:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Good words! But I think there is an even better sentence for dads to review:

"Self-restraint, self-mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution—these are the qualities which mark a masterful people."

What can you and I do to cultivate these qualities in our children and youth?

Common sense
Individual responsibility AND working with others

A good start is to work towards modeling these qualities in your own life.

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