I’d like to take a brief pause from One’s Origins to share this special birthday wish.
On the hallway wall in my parents’ house hangs a wood carved inscription of Rudyard Kipling’s iconic poem, ‘IF’. It used to hang on the kitchen wall of my childhood home. I have clear recollections of Dad saying on more than one occasion how much that poem means to him.
On this day, the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the birth of my baby brother, Andrew, I reflect on Kipling’s IF and I see the man Andrew has become. In so many ways the two of us are blessed beyond measure – from being adopted by extraordinarily loving parents to living together for a few years as well as so many other reasons.
While we shared a house, I had a front row seat watching Andrew pour his heart into being the best father he could be for my niece whom I love with all my heart. Today he continues having not lost his touch one bit with my nephew (whom I love no less).
As I read IF (full poem below) I assert without a shred of doubt that my brother Andrew, is a man in ways that I sometimes fail to see in myself. I love you and am forever proud of you Andrew. Happy Birthday!
IF by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and 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 impostors 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 stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of 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 all men 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—you’ll be a Man, my son!