Ralph Waldo Emerson

Image of American philosopher/poet Ralph Waldo...Image via Wikipedia

We went to see the movie Precious this past week, the 5 of us.  Believe the hype.  Not only is the movie really well done with some spectacular performances, the story is haunting. 

I have read countless books about inner cities and it always comes down to the same thing…how does the cycle get broken?  How do we help kids without role models see a bright future? 

When I chaired MOUSE, one of my best friends ( still one of my best friends ) gave me a poem back in May 1999 which I have kept in my wallet ever since ( know the date because it came in email ).  Once in a while, I pull it out and read it.  After seeing Precious, I felt like it was time to pull it out and read it again.

This is a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded."

So, as we enter the holiday season and think about how we can give back to people who are in need, to make the world a better place, Emerson's words are still to this day, words to live by. 

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Comments (Archived):

  1. TanyaMonteiro

    I’ll be printing that out and placing it in my wallet too!

  2. CCjudy

    I saw the movie and was deeply moved and riveted. Then I talked to a black lady who didnt see it and she wanted me to know their community doesnt like the negative portrayal of their men. I was like my underpinnings were gone. Who was right? Then I said I was moved by the young lady that she was inspiring. She told me lots of their people are inspiring. I felt like I was wrong that I was not aware enough. And tho I liked the film what did I know? Now I read this and Im returned to my love of the movie

    1. Gotham Gal

      Love the movie. There are plenty of bad portrayals of people in movies andbooks. Perhaps the movie portrayed one bad black man and mother but at theend of the day, the problems in the inner cities of America are as real asthe problems we have in rural West Virginia. Putting these problems on thebig screen for more and more eyeballs to see transparently can’t be a badthing.

      1. CCjudy

        Yes and it stings for some people who would prefer to keep it hidden. Its like anything that opens things up for scrutiny.

  3. cookiemoo

    I also printed it out. Words to live by. Thanks Joanne.