Finally and especially, reverence age. Be deferential to maturity. This is the one thing in which we Americans are yet deficient. The man who has lived a single decade longer than you, deserves your consideration and respect. Be in no haste to displace your seniors. Time will do that all too quickly. The finest characteristic of the Oriental is his profound regard for all age. Follow the Asiatic in this one thing only. Heed venerable counsels; defer to maturity’s wisdoms. There is something majestic about advancing years. Be to all men and women older than yourself what you would like other young men to be to your father and mother.
Be a man; that’s the sum of it all—be a man. Be all that we Americans mean by those three words.
THE OLD HOME
Do we not pay so much attention to mere material success that we exclude from mind and heart other things more precious? I am anxious that every young American should win in all the conflicts of life—win in college, win in business, etc.; but I am even more anxious that through all of his triumphs he should grow ever broader, sweeter, and more kindly. After all, we are human beings. We do not want to become mere machines of success, do we?
That is carrying our mechanical age a little too far. We want to keep that within us which makes our victory worth having after we have won it. What matters your mountains of wealth, or your network of political power, or those secrets which in your laboratory you have wrung from Nature—what matters all and everything that the world calls “success,” if the human quality has been dried up in you?
Those are fine things that St. Paul says about a man not amounting to anything, no matter how talented and powerful he may be, if he have not charity: “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing”; and you will recall the remainder of his admirable comments on this subject.
Everybody points out to you what you can get out of college, and how to get it; what you can get out of a “career,” and how to get that. But lest all of your getting turns to bitter emptiness in the end, you must pay attention to that elemental manhood exalted by those beautiful moralities that you get at but one place and at but one period in this world. That period is the early time of your young manhood before you enter college; and that place is the old home where influences angelic have been at work upon your character.
It could not be otherwise. Home—the home that you leave or the home you make—is the spot where most of your life is to be spent. Home was the place of your birth; and if the angel of death is kind to you, home will be the place of your farewell. It is to the home that you bring life’s wages, whether those wages are opulence, glory, or merely daily bread.