In my childhood, my Mom often would offer a challenge to us kids (Lynda, George, Kristine and Myself) by offering a quarter to the first one of us that could memorize a poem or some other ditty she found meaningful.  Back in those days a quarter was a huge sum of money to a youngster.

I have a good memory!  As I recall this particular challenge and others like it, I believe I was usually the winner of the challenges.  I thought they were FUN! My sisters and brother, maybe not so much.  I truly believe it was not the money that enticed me.  I believe that I was proud of my ability to memorize.  I used to be in a lot of the school plays in grammar school.  I like to write poetry myself.  Methinks, these inherent skills also added to my like of writing.

I happened to be reminiscing today about this particular challenge of memorizing a poem whose first line was “I have to live with myself and so….” I could only recall parts of the poem.  My memory told me that I liked what it said, so I was curious if I could find a copy of it.   I have been able to find so many things on the internet, I decided to look and possibly be able to see all the other lines.  Well, lo and behold, I found it.  And it was really so easy.

Now that I think of what my Mom was actually doing, besides offering us a little mental challenge, she was also providing us with a life lesson.  Not all our traits are developed from our parents mouths, examples, etc.  I read this poem now and realize that its importance of memorizing it has been beneficial in teaching me how to live my life.  Have I lived 100% as the poem says?  Heck, No.  After all, I am human.  But I can say that I try very hard to live by these words.

Here is the poem –


Written by Edgar A. Guest

I have to live with myself and so

I want to be fit for myself to know.

I want to be able as days go by,

Always to look myself straight in the eye;

I don’t want to stand with the setting sun

And hate myself for the things I have done.

I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf

A lot of secrets about myself

And fool myself as I come and go

Into thinking no one else will ever know

The kind of person I really am,

I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect

I want to deserve [people’s] respect;

But here in the struggle for fame and pelf

I want to be able to like myself.

I don’t want to look at myself and know

I am bluster and bluff and empty show.

I never can hide myself from me;

I see what others may never see;

I know what others may never know,

I never can fool myself and so,

Whatever happens I want to be

Self-respecting and conscience free.