Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier

via HarperCollins

I really loved this book. I even highlighted several passages. Instead of tell you why I love the book, I'll just post some passages from the book. That way you can see for yourself.

We put our kids to fifteen years of quick-cut advertising, passive television watching, and sadistic video games, and we expect to see emerge a new generation of calm, compassionate, and engaged human beings?

Of all my father's teachings, the most enduring was the one about the true measure of a man. That true measure was how well he provided for his children, and it stuck with me as if it were etched in my brain. I didn't know where I was going next, but I knew that failure wasn't an option.

What I'm saying is that by having very little, I had it good. Children need a sense of pulling their own weight, of contributing to the family in some way, and some sense of the family's interdependence. They take pride in knowing that they're contributing. They learn responsibility and discipline through meaningful work. The values developed within a family that operates on those principles then extend to the society at large. By not being quite so indulged and "protected" from reality by overflowing abundance, children see the bonds that connect them to others.

I must ask myself what I've done to support that vision of the future. I know that one can never do enough. "To whom much is given, much is required" the Bible says, and I give money to this and to that and lend my name to certain causes. But where I've invested most in the future of this planet- unreservedly, and from the deep heart's core-is through the lives of six talented and intelligent young women, truly beautiful human beings, whom I burst with pride to call my daughters.

I'm responsible not for what happens but for what I make of it. It's up to me to take my own measure, to claim what's real, to answer for myself.

I've only seen three of Poitier's movies, but I highly recommend them:

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