Never work just for money or for power.
Marian Wright Edelman
This was one of twenty-five life lessons that Edelman laid out in The Measure of Our Success A Letter to My Children and Yours (1992). About money and power, she explained, “They won’t save your soul or build a decent family or help you sleep at night.” Edelman, the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, also offered this lesson:
“Never give up.
Never think life is not worth living. I don’t care how hard it gets.”
Keep true; never be ashamed of doing right; decide on what you think is right, and stick to it.
George Eliot, quoted in The Sabbath Reporter (1911) Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion, against injustice and lying and greed.
Faulkner said this in a 1951 commencement address to graduating seniors at University High School in Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner’s daughter Jill, a member of the senior class, had personally asked her father-a recent Nobel Prize winner-to deliver the speech. He added: “If you will do this, not as a class or classes, but as individuals, men and women, you will change the earth.”
Never feel self-pity, the most destructive emotion there is.
She added: “How awful to be caught up in the terrible squirrel cage of self.” Fenwick was a fashion model, author, and Vogue magazine editor before becoming involved in politics via the civil rights movement. Blessed with striking good looks, exceptional intelligence, and a keen wit, she rose rapidly in the ranks of the Republican Party. She was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1974-at age sixty-four-and quickly became a media darling, famous for her pipe-smoking habit and memorable quips (in a 1981 60 Minutes interview, she said, “When the door of a smoke-filled room is closed, there’s hardly ever a woman inside”). During her four congressional terms she was one of the country’s most colorful politicians. She lives on in history as the model for the character of Lacey Davenport in Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury comic strip.
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.
Never reach out your hand unless you’re willing to extend an arm.
Fuller was a seventeenth-century educator who founded a famous Free School for English girls and boys. Almost three centuries later, Jesse Jackson offered a similar thought: “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” And on the same theme, Pope John XXIII said:
“Never hesitate to hold out your hand; never hesitate to accept the outstretched hand of another.”
Never forget that you are one of a kind.
Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place.
And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world.
In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about.
So be that one person.
R. Buckminster Fuller