Saturday, February 21, 2009

Found: "Hints to Young People"

A couple of years ago, someone told me they were throwing out an attic full of old books, and I should come over and get whatever I want. When I got there I was told that all the books "worth anything" had been taken, but I found a few strange items to keep anyway.

Among them was the GAY'S ILLUSTRATED CIRCLE OF KNOWLEDGE : Forming a Household Library of Scientific and Useful Information--one of those strange old awesome books with intricately decorated title pages. It's awesome, and here is the first paragraph from an essay called, "Hints to Young People."

"Make the most and the best of yourself. Your destiny is in your own hands and your fortune will be your own making. Are you making the most of the one life that is intrusted to you? Are you putting to the best uses the natural abilities of body and mind with which you have been entrusted? Or are you droning through life, steadily and surely drifting behind those of less ability than yourself, men who with fewer talents than you possess are making the most of themselves.

Think of this. Put the question squarely to yourselves as we put it for you, and answer it honestly. Are you making the best of yourselves?

If not, now and only now is your chance; make a radical change and make it at once. Begin a new life and rise out of the old ruts. Do your own thinking and acting. Strive to be a man among men, [or a woman among women] with a worthy purpose and a pure ambition; then will the world not only be better for your living in it, but you will be better for having lived in the world."

There you go, young people. Thems some good hints.

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