This might be where the book got its title, but the poem is a letter…
Ensign, after four USNA years
by General Douglas MacArthur for his son(1942)
“Build me a son, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak,
and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid;
one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat,
and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son, whose wishes will not take the place of deeds;
a son who will know Thee –
and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort,
but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge.
Here let him learn to stand up in the storm;
here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high;
a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men,
one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And, after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor,
so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously.
Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness,
the open mind of true wisdom, and the weakness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”
To see how it’s done, read these 7 parts:
Build a USNA Midshipman–Part VI
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Jacqui Murray wrote the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a tech columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, and a freelance journalist of tech ed topics. Currently, she’s editing a military thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.