Class Wisdom

"But the past was always with you, waiting to be reborn."  from Hunting Eve, by Iris Johansen - sent by Lee Hardy Oswalt.

A new volcano, Tamu Massif,  has been discovered 1,000 miles off the coast of Japan. It is the approximate size of New Mexico and is four miles under the surface of the Pacific Ocean. It is perhaps the largest known volcano in our solar system. - sent by Lee Hardy Oswalt.

We trust, sir, that God is on our side.  It is more important to know that we are on God's side.  -- Abraham Lincoln - sent by Joe Walker.

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.  Thomas Jefferson -- sent by Joe Walker.


Paul Bates sent his rather interesting and thought provoking piece of wisdom from his father to him.  Reminds me a lot of the "fatherly wisdom" of the fifties.  If we could have only lived up to these aspirations:



My Dear Son,

            There is a possibility I may not be with you on this day, so I am writing to make sure you will know some of the things I would talk over with you, were I present at the moment.

            One serious thought I want to emphasize first is that your life will be what you yourself make it.  As your father, I can point out mistakes I’ve made in my own life; but you will have to plot your own course.  However, I will outline briefly several things which have impressed me, from experience, as being highly significant.

            Learn to concentrate as early in life as possible.  Concentration is the ability to keep you thoughts and attention on one fact until you know it thoroughly.  It is a habit that must be learned if you are really to succeed.  I can’t emphasize the importance of this too strongly:  it may be the principal message you will get from this letter.  It could be the difference between your being a most successful man and an ordinary one.

            Learn early in life, the meaning of discipline.  In four short years you may be inducted into the Armed Forces.  Self-discipline is much easier to acquire than regimented discipline at the hands of a rough drill-sergeant, and you gain self-respect by so doing.

            Stand at the head of your class in English.  Do you realize that from the moment you awake till you fall asleep at night, you are thinking, speaking or writing English, and to be successful you must have a real mastery of it?  Do not be satisfied to be just good in English, but make up your mind to excel in it.  No matter how difficult it may be.  And I can outline a very simple way to help attain this end. 

            From Monday through Friday of each week of the school year, write me or your mother a one-page letter, selecting any subject you wish.  Tell us in simple English anything that comes into your mind or imagination.  I am confident this simple exercise will be a wonderful help to you in mastering the language at its best, and that after the first few months, you will enjoy it.

            Appreciate the real meaning of integrity.  Uprightness of character and innate honesty apply to everything in life—to your school work, your play on the athletic field, you life at home with the family.  Make up your mind early in life always to look everyone in the eye, with the full knowledge that no one can challenge your integrity.

            Watch you posture.  Hold yourself erect and keep you head high.  It gives you character and self-confidence as very few other things do.  You cannot have pride in yourself if you are stooped over and hanging your head.

            Make all your decisions promptly.  Procrastination is truly the thief of time.  Putting off until tomorrow what should be done today is admitting to yourself that you are lazy.

            Remember to be thoughtful and considerate of everyone, especially your own family.  Do not take your father and mother for granted; they have made many sacrifices for you, and the least you can do is to act towards them always so they will be proud of you.  Your success at school, especially if you stand at the head of your class, would be the greatest compensation your parents could receive.

            Be sure to give first place in your life to the spiritual side of your nature.  Have an abiding faith in God.  If you ever have any doubt, just go out on a starry night and take a long look at he heavens.  No one but God could ever conceive the firmament and infinite space.  As a guide in life, you cannot do better than live by the Golden Rule as set forth in the “Sermon on the Mount.”  Keep a copy of it beside you always and reread it at least once a month.

            How important is the social side of your life?  You will like the girls and the girls will like you, too—especially if you are a leader in school and captain of your team.  But learn to put social life in its proper place.  Always keep your feet on the ground and do not get a swelled head.

            The value of imagination.  You are too young to understand how helpful in future life a vivid, active imagination may prove.  All modern civilization is yours today because some man, during past years, had enough imagination leading to an idea which, fully developed, resulted in all the things you now take for granted.

            How important is money?  It’s important, but don't put too much value on it.  It will buy things that you need and desire, but it will not take the place of earning for yourself the respect of your friends and fellow-workers.

            Be an optimist.  You will have so much more satisfaction and fun out of life if you always look on the bright side of things.  And your friends will point to you with pride as a boy or man who is always cheerful and pleasant to be with.

            Pay heed to you conscience.  Fortunately, nature endowed us all with a built-in alarm system, so that we know the difference between right and wrong.  Be sure to follow the right road.  Your self-respect and the knowledge that you are doing the right thing will give you more satisfaction than anything else.

            Perhaps I am boring you a little with this long letter.  But these are some of the things I’d talk over if I were with you today.  There are probably many important things I have failed to mention, but we can take these up at some future time.

            I am going to ask you, as a special request, to put this letter aside and reread it on the last of each month until you graduate from college.  I am asking this because I am sure there are some things mentioned in it that you will understand and appreciate better when you are 18 or 20, than you do today—things which you will now pass up as unimportant, but which may influence greatly your future life.

            I have written this only after a very searching study of my own life and the lives of some of my intimate friends, in the cherished hope that it may help you, if only a little, to plot a successful course in your life.

            With a great deal of love and affection, I am


                                                            Your Father


CORONET, June, 1955


If you have pieces of wisdom to share with the class, just send them to, and I'll post them here.  Charles Gattis