“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” – George Washington Carver
If you want to read an inspirational story, a story about overcoming great odds and doing it with dignity, grace and not bitterness or hate, read the story of George Washington Carver. His thoughts and quotes are a treasure trove of writing prompts for me. I admire the man, I admire the way he thinks and I admire the way he lived his life.
The quote above encapsulates the cycle of life in two very simple but poignant sentences. GWC’s view was from the dirt, plant a seed, give it the care and love it needs to survive and grow and great things will happen. Now you may not equate a lowly peanut bush, or sweet potato vine as a “great thing” but if you spend a moment with the analogy and replace your life with the seed, you understand, as GWC did, that our human existence is not much different than the life cycle of a plant. Ponder the similarities and you begin to wonder why we, as humans, who were placed on his earth to “tame and conquer” (Old King James), treat our fragile environment with such wreck less abandoned.
GWC spoke in simple terms from the perspective of a plant, but he was a BRILLIANT man at a time when African-American’s were considered, hell, I can’t even imagine how they were considered, perceived, let alone treated. The blessing for all of us is that GWC persevered, however he compartmentalized the hate and the abuse he encountered. He moved forward, made great discoveries and left us with a legacy of knowledge and thought that survives to this day.
George Washington Carver’s eight cardinal virtues
- Be clean both inside and out.
- Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.
- Lose, if need be, without squealing.
- Win without bragging.
- Always be considerate of women, children, and older people.
- Be too brave to lie.
- Be too generous to cheat.
- Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.