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.