When we are young, our values and beliefs are often indelibly shaped by the words we choose to live by. The Lord’s Prayer, The Pledge of Allegiance, The Apostle’s Creed are ones that I remember, have recited tens or thousands of times and are helped create the person that I have become.
But as we age we start repeating things willingly and they none the less become part of who we are. Often these have no basis in reality but are simply things that are repeated by those in our lives that we start to believe them. “Republicans are fiscally conservative” and “Democrats want to take away our guns” are two such statements that quickly come to mind.
As we grow, we start to choose what it is we want to repeat, and therefore, who we want to become. I chose to repeat the Scout Oath and the Scout Laws so often, they are embedded in my character. At military school, it was the Hargrave Honor Code that was repeated so often, that I cannot sign my name without repeating it in my head. But perhaps the most important is the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”
Words are powerful. They can change and shape us into whoever and whatever we choose to become. They should be chosen with intention, they should be chosen with purpose because eventually we will become whatever it is we say often enough.
Here are a few more that have helped shape my life.
“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” Richard Bach
“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” Og Mandino
“Treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.” Paulo Cuelo
God bless us every one!