A 4th of July poem for Millennials and you

Steele Coddington

In 1895 English poet Rudyard Kipling wrote one of the most famous poems ever written. It was in the form of fatherly guidance to his son. Because it embraces the deep caring of a father, we thought our Millennial Generation might appreciate its intent. But we altered it slightly so its meaning reaches with equal love to our daughters. This 4th of July we extend its universal wish to every loyal American. The poem is “If.”

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when someone doubts you,

But make allowance for their doubting too,

If you can wait but not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stop and build ’em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap with all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If people count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – your freedom will be won.