Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Character, by Albert N. Parlin

The founder of my junior high, Albert Norton Parlin, wrote a brief treatise on the subject of character, and every student had to memorize it. Recently, the Parlin School became a grammar school for that section of the city, but in my day, every single public school student eventually attended the only junior high in town, the Parlin School. Thus, there are generations and generations of people in Everett who learned this little essay, and I still know it by heart. In fact, it is engraved on the three-story wall of the school that faces the main street in my hometown.
I would have all young persons taught to respect themselves, their citizenship, the rights of others and all sacred things; to be healthy, industrious, persevering, provident, courteous, just and honest, neat in person and in habit, clean in thought and in speech, modest in manner, cheerful in spirit and Masters of themselves; faithful to every trust, loyal to every duty, magnanimous in judgment, generous in service and sympathetic toward the needy and unfortunate:  
 for these are the most important things in life and this is not only the way of wisdom, happiness and true success, but the way to make the most of themselves and to be of the greatest service to the world.
I've been thinking a lot about what constitutes character recently, about what a person of character looks like and how a person of character acts, and how does one develop character over time,and there is no way that I could ponder these things and not give a nod to Character, by Albert N. Parlin.