Listen to this and be inspired….

On Growing Up…

on December 15, 2011
Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936, head-and-shoulder...

Rudyard Kipling Image via Wikipedia

I found this poem when I was much younger in a drawer at my house. I think someone got it to read for school and forgot about it but I fell in love with it and put it in my scrap book. It’s called “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

What I really love about it is that it completely captures what it means to grow up. Also, the term “if”, in my opinion, means that you may never grow up (which is the case with some people). It also is telling the reader that growing up is not easy and that there will be many challenges along the way.

Although the poem was written in the early 1900s, it’s message is timeless because it is about becoming a good person and a leader which is what, I think, a true grown up needs to be. Just as important as success, however, is not letting success go to your head. Be humble.

I imagine a father giving this advice to his son before leaving for college or maybe even after college when he enters the (often scary) “real world” where he will have to “man” up and fight for his convictions in the face of adversity and jealousy. If life was sports, this is the pep talk before the big game.

Lastly, this poem, I believe applies to both men and women because this is advice everyone can use. It’s not about being “a man” as much as a decent human being.

So without further ado…Rudyard Kipling’s “If” (with my favorite lines underlined)…..


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!


One response to “On Growing Up…

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