as we try,
Lighter every test goes by;
Wading in, the stream grows deep
Toward the center’s downward sweep;
Backward turn, each step ashore
Shallower is than that before.
precious years we waste
Leveling what we raised in haste:
Doing what must be undone
Ere content or love be won!
First, across the gulf we cast
Kite-borne threads, till lines are passed,
And habit builds the bridge at last!
John Boyle O’Reilly.
* * * * *
Habit is a cable. Every day we weave a thread, until at last it is so strong we cannot break it.
* * * * *
in ured’ ru’ di ments nine’ ti eth ma tur’ er ac’ cu ra cy in ad vert’ ence an’ ec dotes e ner’ vate in cor’ po ra ted dig’ ni fied in junc’ tion pre var i ca’ tion
Some of the most interesting anecdotes of the early life of Washington were derived from his mother, a dignified matron who, by the death of her husband, while her children were young, became the sole conductress of their education. To the inquiry, what course she had pursued in rearing one so truly illustrious, she replied, “Only to require obedience, diligence, and truth.”
These simple rules, faithfully enforced, and incorporated with the rudiments of character, had a powerful influence over his future greatness.
He was early accustomed to accuracy in all his statements, and to speak of his faults and omissions without prevarication or disguise. Hence arose that noble openness of soul, and contempt of deceit in others, which ever distinguished him. Once, by an inadvertence of his youth, considerable loss had been incurred, and of such a nature as to interfere with the plans of his mother. He came to her, frankly owning his error, and she replied, while tears of affection moistened her eyes, “I had rather it should be so, than that my son should have been guilty of a falsehood.”
She was careful not to enervate him by luxury or weak indulgence. He was inured to early rising, and never permitted to be idle. Sometimes he engaged in labors which the children of wealthy parents would now account severe, and thus acquired firmness of frame and a disregard of hardship.
The systematic employment of time, which from childhood he had been taught, was of great service when the weight of a nation’s concerns devolved upon him. It was then observed by those who surrounded him, that he was never known to be in a hurry, but found time for the transaction of the smallest affairs in the midst of the greatest and most conflicting duties.
Such benefit did he derive from attention to the counsels of his mother. His obedience to her commands, when a child, was cheerful and strict; and as he approached to maturer years, the expression of her slightest wish was law.