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Dear Madam--The American school teaches its childrenAmbition and Character.XCIX.
The one ambition to instill into a child's mind,
it seems to me, is the ambition to make the
most of himself.
I should never give a boy an idea that he was to
be President of the United States, Admiral of a
fleet, or a Mozart. I should simply watch the bent
of his best inclinations and talents and urge him to
make the most of opportunities on developing them.
I should do the same with every girl.
Teach children that they are to a marked and
undreamed-of degree the arbiters of their own fate;
that they possess the power to overcome tremen-
dous obstacles and to conquer environment by
patient and determined effort.
Remind them that the greatest men the world
has ever known in any domain--unless it be that
of war--have been unselfish and tender-hearted.
Absolute greatness includes a great heart as well
as a great brain, and simplicity of manner and an
absence of that haughtiness of demeanor which is
sometimes miscalled pride.
A consideration for the beings dependent upon
him, or ostensibly beneath him, is always a part of
a great man's creed.
Lincoln delayed an important journey a few
moments and spattered his only good suit of cloth-
ing in order to extricate a pig from an abyss.
General Custer caused a whole army of cavalry-
men to make a detour of a few rods in a difficult
march in order to save a ground bird's nest of little
ones from destruction.
Character must be the foundation of all greatness
in any direction.
That is built brick by brick, day by day, from
childhood up to old age.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.