My twenty-year-old daughter just left for the airport to return to school in Portland, Oregon. We shared the most magical Thanksgiving weekend. In a short seventy-two hours we crammed in lots of FUN including Black Friday shopping, Christmas tree decorating, hiking, swimming, the annual Christmas family photo shoot in the desert, baking cookies, and watching movies. We even roasted marshmallows and made s’mores – all while spending quality time catching up on our very full lives.
“But wait, I’m not ready for you to leave,” I whispered to myself as she and my husband pulled out of the driveway towards the Phoenix airport. “There was so much more I had to say.”
There’s so much more to tell our kids, right? All the advice and the suggestions and the ideas we parents believe is so incredibly important to impart on our children. We know so much more then they do, right? Then I was reminded of this poem I memorized when I was her age so many years ago. At the time I thought it explained my entire life. It empowered me to pursue my dreams and take responsibility for my life. Isn’t that really all we want for our kids? It was written in 1926 by an Illinois lawyer and recorded by Les Crane. Right now, when I can think of a million things I would like to say, pearls of wisdom I believe she needs to hear, I read this poem and think, “This said it all to me back in the 70’s, maybe, just maybe this is all she needs to hear now in 2014.”
Desiderata – by Max Ehrman
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
To hear the original version go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNq_DTmVCWs