BY RUDYARD KIPLING
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
I have posted this poem before, as I love it so much. I love it for Gabe as he is a questioner. He is also at the stage right now where he is searching for who he is, what he believes, and where to find the answers.
He is very much like Rob in that way. I don’t need as much exploring and searching. If it feels right, if I have an experience that confirms things for me, that’s all I need. Funny, I am a very logical, rationale person, but for some things, my heart’s confirmation is enough. Rob, on the other hand, dissects things. Searches. Ponders. Researches. Collects Data. Weighs. Evaluates. Then, at some point, he allows the other side of things come into play; the side that often can’t be explained by reason. Or can’t be expressed in language; there are no words. Only feelings, emotions, desires, sensations. But it is very much real.
The beauty and fulness in life comes from combining the two. In this poem, I see it as a message to a son to make sure to have balance. To develop characteristics that develop your mind, body and spirit. To be aware of your weaknesses and strengths. To be hard, but to be soft. To think with your head, and your heart. Allow colour into your life; not just black and white.
Those are things that I hope for Gabe, and I hope this poem helps him remember to balance these things.