Since our tendencies run toward agitation, the quality of calmness probably won’t be ours unless we cultivate it. There are principles we’ll have to learn, disciplines we’ll have to practice. Bit by bit, we’ll have to gain the ability to be calm.
Democracy is a bold experiment. It believes, rightly it seems to me, that more good than harm will come — in the long run — from trusting the common folks with a voice and a vote. Today, we celebrate the good that has come from that trust.
Consideration is not just a matter of emotional goodwill but of intellectual vigor and moral self-sacrifice. Wisdom must combine with sympathy. So the ideal is both wise consideration and considerate wisdom, and these are wonderful traits to learn.
Whether we’re thinking of bare physical survival or survival in some greater sense, we won’t survive if we don’t decide to. Life is tough, and the real survivors are those who’re possessed of enough stubbornness that they refuse to be defeated.
We need to rethink our concepts of safety and security. These things don’t come from staying with the status quo. They come from bravely shaping ourselves in the likeness of true-north principles and reforming ourselves as often as we need to.
Most of us are at least a bit moody, and even if we’re not moody, we’re subject to the pressures of our changing circumstances. Can’t we make it a point of honor to be constant in our love for those who have a right to expect love from us?
Rollo May said, “Intimacy requires courage because risk is inescapable. We cannot know at the outset how the relationship will affect us.” Yet if it is fear that keeps us from the generous joys of intimacy, we need to overcome that fear.
What we choose to preserve depends on our values. So we’re wise if we work on improving our powers of judgment. We should want to be, in the well-known words of Abraham Lincoln, “honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.”
Having favorites is fine as long as we don’t limit ourselves to them. We need to be willing to experiment. Who knows? There may be some really good things out there that could become favorites if we ever gave them a chance.
Some of the things we need to do in life aren’t very effective if they’re not done with verve (such as saying “thank you” or “I love you”). Too often, we fall below the level of effectiveness because our words and deeds are little more than lukewarm.