Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Quest for Success by Dr. Thomas Lane Butts

What can we do to help our children find success in life? It certainly cannot be done by making them an extension of ourselves by trying to fulfill our thwarted ambitions by pushing them to become what we wanted to be. Every person is different and it is essential to recognize that individuality. We help people move toward success when we set them free to find their places in the world. This is not always easy when we want a child to adopt our specific standards of success. Henry David Thoreau observed that if a person does not keep pace with his peers, it is perhaps because he/she hears a different drummer. Respect and encourage the child who hears a different drummer and you will be helping that child on the road to success.

Henry Ford once had an efficiency expert evaluate the running of his company. The expert gave a favorable report, but said he had reservations about one employee. He said: "It is that man down the hall. Every time I go by his office he is sitting there with his feet on his desk. He is wasting your money." Ford replied: "That man once had an idea that saved us millions of dollars. At the time, I believe his feet were planted right where they are now." Ford kept the man who could think better on his seat than on his feet.

There is a plaque on the wall just outside my home office that suggests a pretty good philosophy regarding success. It was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Read it.

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived."

This is to have succeeded. (You may email Dr. Butts at )

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