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“In presenting this book of cheerful counsel to his youthful friends, and such of the seniors as are not too old to accept a bit of friendly admonition, the author desires to offer a word of explanation regarding the history of the making of this volume. So many letters have been received from people of all classes and ages requesting copies of some of the author’s lines best suited for the purpose of engendering a sense of self-help in the mind of youth, that he deems it expedient to offer a number of his verses in the present collected form. While he is indebted to a great array of bright minds for the prose incidents and inspiration which constitute a large portion of this volume, he desires to be held personally responsible for all of the rhymed lines to be found within these covers. It may be especially true of advice that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” but it is hoped that in this present form of tendering friendly counsel the precepts will be accepted in the same cheerful spirit in which they are offered. The author realizes that no one is more urgently in need of good advice and the intelligence to follow it than is the writer of these lines, and none cries more earnestly the well-known truth. Oh, fellow men and brothers, could we but use the free Advice we give to others, how happy we should be! While the title of this book and the character of its contents make it obvious that it is a volume designed primarily for the guidance of youth, no one should pass it by merely because he has reached the years of maturity, and presumably of discretion. As a matter of fact, Time cannot remove any of us very far from the fancies and foibles, the dreams and dangers of life’s morning hours. Age bringeth wisdom, so they say, but lots of times we’ve seen A man long after he was gray Keep right on being “green…”
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“BOY WANTED” - A BOOK OF CHEERFUL COUNSEL
First digital edition 2017 by Gianluca Ruffini
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I:THE AWAKENING
The life partnership. - When to begin. - Foresight. - “Boy Wanted”. - The power of mind. - “Couldn’t and Could”. - Self-made men. “Deliver the Goods”.
CHAPTER II:“AM I A GENIUS?”
Genius defined. - Inspiration and perspiration. - “Stick to It”. - Genius and patience. - “Keep Pegging Away”. - Examples of patience. - “The Secret of Success”.
What is a fair chance? - Abraham Lincoln. - Depending on self. - “Myself and I”. - The importance of the present moment. - “Right Here and Just Now”. - Poverty and success. - “Keep A-Trying”.
CHAPTER IV:OVER AND UNDERDOING
Precocity. Starting too soon as bad as starting too late. - The value of health. - “Making a man”. - The worth of toil. - “How to Win Success”. - Sharpened wits. - “The Steady Worker”.
CHAPTER V:THE VALUE OF SPARE MOMENTS
Wasting time. - “The 'Going-to-Bees!'” - The possibilities of one hour a day. - “Just This Minute”. - The vital importance of properly employing leisure moments. - “Do It Now”.
The value of smiles. - “To Know All is to Forgive All”. - Hope and strength. - “A Cure for Trouble”. - Carlyle on cheerfulness. - “The One with a Song”. - Pessimism as a barrier to success. - “A Smile and a Task” - A profitable virtue. - “An Open Letter to the Pessimist”.
CHAPTER VII:DREAMING AND DOING
Practicality. - “Hank Streeter’s Brain-Wave”. - Self-esteem. - “The Valley of Never”. - Opportunity and application. - “Yender Grass”.
The value of little things. - Sowing and reaping. - The power of habit. - “'I Wish' and 'I Will'” - Jenny Lind’s humble beginning. - Canova’s genius. - Present opportunities. - “'Now' and 'Waitawhile'”.
CHAPTER IX:THE WORTH OF ADVICE
Heeding the sign-post. - The value of guide-books. - “The World’s Victors” - Good books a boy’s best friend. - The danger of knowing too much. - “My Boyhood Dreams”. - Reading and reflecting.
CHAPTER X:REAL SUCCESS
Are you the boy wanted? Money and success. - “On Getting Rich”. - Thinking and doing. - Life’s true purpose. - “The Mother’s Dream”.
Do not loiter or shirk, do not falter or shrink; But just think out your work And then work out your “think”.
In presenting this book of cheerful counsel to his youthful friends, and such of the seniors as are not too old to accept a bit of friendly admonition, the author desires to offer a word of explanation regarding the history of the making of this volume. So many letters have been received from people of all classes and ages requesting copies of some of the author’s lines best suited for the purpose of engendering a sense of self-help in the mind of youth, that he deems it expedient to offer a number of his verses in the present collected form. While he is indebted to a great array of bright minds for the prose incidents and inspiration which constitute a large portion of this volume, he desires to be held personally responsible for all of the rhymed lines to be found within these covers. It may be especially true of advice that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” but it is hoped that in this present form of tendering friendly counsel the precepts will be accepted in the same cheerful spirit in which they are offered. The author realizes that no one is more urgently in need of good advice and the intelligence to follow it than is the writer of these lines, and none cries more earnestly the well-known truth. Oh, fellow men and brothers, could we but use the free Advice we give to others, how happy we should be! While the title of this book and the character of its contents make it obvious that it is a volume designed primarily for the guidance of youth, no one should pass it by merely because he has reached the years of maturity, and presumably of discretion. As a matter of fact, Time cannot remove any of us very far from the fancies and foibles, the dreams and dangers of life’s morning hours. Age bringeth wisdom, so they say, but lots of times we’ve seen A man long after he was gray Keep right on being “green.”
CHAPTER I:THE AWAKENING
The life partnership. - When to begin. - Foresight. - “Boy Wanted”. - The power of mind. - “Couldn’t and Could”. - Self-made men. “Deliver the Goods”.
[Sidenote: Nothing is impossible to the man who can will. MIRABEAU.]
Ho, my brave youth! There’s a “Boy Wanted,” and- how fortunate! you are the very boy!
Who wants you?
[Sidenote: You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some with you. JOUBERT.]
The big, busy, beautiful world wants you, and I really do not see how it is going to get on well without you. It has awaited your coming so long, and has kept in store so many golden opportunities for you to improve, it will be disappointed if, when the proper time arrives, you do not smilingly lay hold and do something worthwhile.
When are you to begin?
[Sidenote: Things don’t turn up in this world until somebody turns them up. GARFIELD.]
Oh, I sincerely hope that you have already begun to begin; that is, that you have already begun to train your hand and head and heart for making the most of the opportunities that await you. In fact, if you are so fortunate as to own thoughtful, intelligent parents, the work of fitting you for the victories of life was begun before you were old enough to give the subject serious consideration.
[Sidenote: Work has made me what I am. I never ate a bit of idle bread in my life. DANIEL WEBSTER.]
“When shall I begin to train my child?” asked a young mother of a wise physician.
“How old is the child?” inquired the doctor.
[Sidenote: In the blackest soils grow the fairest flowers, and the loftiest and strongest trees spring heavenward among the rocks. HOLLAND.]
“Then you have already lost just two years,” was his serious response.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, when asked the same question, said: “You must begin with the child’s grandmother.”
[Sidenote: Without courage, there cannot be truth; and without truth there can be no other virtue. WALTER SCOTT.]
But no matter what has or has not been done for you up to the present time, you and I know that from now on your future welfare will be largely of your own making and in your own keeping. If you will thoughtfully plan your purpose as definitely as conditions will permit and then learn to stick to it through thick and thin, your success in life is quite well assured, and you need not fear that at the end of the journey you will have to say, as does many a man while retrospectively viewing his years:
[Sidenote: Vigilance in watching opportunity; tact and daring in seizing upon opportunity; force and persistence in crowding opportunity to its utmost of possible achievement--these are the martial virtues which must command success. PHELPS.]
O’er life’s long and winding pathway, looking backward, I confess I have not at looking forward Been a genuine success.
What is there for you to do?
[Sidenote: Work is the inevitable condition of human life, the true source of human welfare. TOLSTOI.]
Everything and anything you can do or care to do. You are to take your pick of all the trades, professions, and vocations of mankind. Look about you and note the thousand and one things now being done by the men of today. It will not be so very long till all of these men will be old enough to retire from active service, and then you and the other boys, who in the meantime have grown to man’s estate, will be called upon to perform every one of the tasks these men are now doing. Doesn’t it look as if there would be plenty of honest, earnest, wholesome toil for hand and head in store for you as soon as you are ready to undertake it? You cannot wonder that the busy old world is ever and always hanging out its notice.
[Sidenote: People do not lack strength; they lack will. VICTOR HUGO.]
“Wanted A Boy.” How often we This quite familiar notice see. Wanted a boy for every kind of task that a busy world can find. He is wanted, wanted now and here; There are towns to build; there are paths to clear; There are seas to sail; there are gulfs to span, In the ever-onward march of man.
[Sidenote: You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge one yourself. FROUDE.]
Wanted, the world wants boys today and it offers them all it has for pay. ‘Twill grant them wealth, position, fame, A useful life, and an honored name. Boys who will guide the plow and pen; Boys who will shape the ways for men; Boys who will forward the tasks begun, For the world’s great work is never done.
[Sidenote: The truest wisdom is a resolute determination. NAPOLEON.]
The world is eager to employ Not just one, but every boy who, with a purpose stanch and true, will greet the work he finds to do. Honest, faithful, earnest, kind, to good, awake; to evil, blind, A heart of gold without alloy, Wanted the world wants such a boy.
[Sidenote: While we are considering when to begin, it is often too late to act. QUINTILIAN.]
No, the world does not insist that you are to accept a position and begin work with your hands at once, but it wishes you to begin to think right things. “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” What you think will have much to do in determining what you are to become.
The mind is master of the man, and so “they can who think they can.”
[Sidenote: Where boasting ends, there dignity begins. YOUNG.]
[Sidenote: Impossible is a word found only in the dictionary of fools. NAPOLEON.]
This influence of the mind in thus shaping the man is very well set forth by James Allen, who says: “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind. Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands, with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought-forces and mind-elements operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny.”
[Sidenote: I am in earnest. I will not equivocate. I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch; and I will be heard. GARRISON.]
So, it is not too early for you to begin to think bravely and resolutely and hopefully upon the life you intend to live, and to cultivate the mental and physical strength that shall help you later on to put your good thoughts into permanent good deeds. Certainty of victory goes far toward winning battles before they are fought. The boy who thinks “I can” is much more likely to succeed in life than is the one who thinks “I can’t.”
“COULDN’T” AND “COULD”
[Sidenote: While you stand deliberating, which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both. DR. JOHNSON.]
“Couldn’t” and “Could” were two promising boys Who lived not a great while ago. They had just the same playmates and just the same toys, and just the same chances for winning life’s joys and all that the years may bestow.
[Sidenote: Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. FRANKLIN.]
And “Could” soon found out he could fashion his life On lines very much as he planned; He could cultivate goodness and guard against strife; He could have all his deeds with good cheer to be rife, and build him a name that would stand.
[Sidenote: When passion is on the throne, reason is out of doors. MATTHEW HENRY.]
But poor little “Couldn’t” just couldn’t pull through All the trials he met with a sigh; When a task needed doing, he couldn’t, he knew; And hence, when he couldn’t, how could he? Could you, if you couldn’t determine you’d try?
[Sidenote: I wasted time, and now time doth waste me. SHAKESPEARE.]
So “Could” just kept building his way to success, nor clouding his sky with a doubt, but “Couldn’t” strayed into the slough of Distress, alas! and his end it is easy to guess. Strayed in, but he couldn’t get out.
And that was the difference ‘twixt “Couldn’t” and “Could”; Each followed his own chosen plan; And where “Couldn’t” just wouldn’t “Could” earnestly would, and where one of them weakened the other “made good,” And won with his watchword, “I can!”
[Sidenote: Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them. MARDEN.]
By reading between the lines we can infer from the foregoing that what the world really wants is men good men. But the world is old enough and wise enough to know that if it does not train up some good boys, there will be no good men, by and by. “As the twig is bent the tree is inclined.” “The child is father of the man.”
[Sidenote: Give me insight into to-day, and you may have the antique and future worlds. EMERSON.]
So, the world simply wishes to inform you, here and now, that it will count on your assistance as soon as you have had sufficient time and opportunity to prepare properly for the many chances it has in store for you. It notifies you in good season of the important use it hopes to make of you. It does not wish you to be confronted suddenly with a life problem you cannot solve intelligently. You must be so well equipped that you will not make life a “fizzle.”
[Sidenote: When I don’t know whether to fight or not, I always fight. NELSON.]
A “fizzle,” as defined by the dictionaries, is a bungling, unsuccessful undertaking.
[Sidenote: What is a gentleman? I’ll tell you: a gentleman is one who keeps his promises made to those who cannot enforce them. HUBBARD.]
Life is, or ought to be, a splendid undertaking. Some make a success of it; some make a “fizzle;” some make a sort of half-and-half. Everyone who lives his or her life must make something of it. What that “something” is depends very largely on the individual person. Heredity has something to do with it; environment has something to do with it; yet we like to think it is the individual who has most to do with the finished product.
All men are to some degree “self-made,” although they are slow to admit it except in instances where the work has been well done.
[Sidenote: When one begins to turn in bed it is time to turn out. WELLINGTON.]
The loser declares it is Fate’s hard plan, But the winner, ho, ho! he’s a “self-made” man.
It is unfair for the loser to blame others for his deficiencies and delinquencies. No one’s reputation is likely to suffer much lasting injury as long as he keeps his character unspotted. What others may say of us is not of so much moment; the important question is, “Is it true?”
[Sidenote: When I found, I was black, I resolved to live as if I were white, and so force men to look below my skin. ALEXANDRE DUMAS.]
Of strife others make us, we’ve little to fear Because we can surely defeat it; Few persons get into hot water, ‘tis clear, but they furnish the fuel to heat it.
[Sidenote: Impossible? I trample upon impossibilities! PITT.]
On the other hand, the winner is ungrateful when he credits to his own ability the help and good influence he has derived from his associates and his surroundings. No one lives by, to, or for himself, alone. A great man adds to his greatness by generously praising those who have aided in his advancement.
We are, most of us, selfishly slow to confess How much others aid us in winning success; But the Fourth of July and the oyster must see What failures, without any crackers, they’d be.
[Sidenote: When all is holiday, there are no holidays. LAMB.]
This timely notice telling you what the world is going to ask you to perform is as if you were told to prepare to take an extended and important journey. It would require some time for you to procure a trunk and a traveling-bag and to select wearing apparel suitable for the undertaking. Then, too, you would need to study maps and time-tables so as to select the best lines of travel and to make advantageous connections with trains and steamships. Furthermore, it would be for your best interests to read books describing the countries through which you were to pass, and to learn as much as possible regarding their peoples and customs.
[Sidenote: Let’s take the instant by the forward top. SHAKESPEARE.]
[Sidenote: I have generally found that the man who is good at an excuse is good for nothing else. FRANKLIN.]
[Sidenote: I feel and grieve, but, by the grace of God, I fret at nothing. JOHN WESLEY.]
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