He shall never live long enough who serves only himself. He shall never be great who thinks only of self. Though he grow to be grey in his own narrow way He shall find that the gold he has laboured to hold Is an empty reward for his long years of strife And too late he shall learn he has wasted his life. He shall never be wise who thinks only of gain And toils for what he himself may attain. He shall sigh at the end for the smile of a friend And shall reap from years only hatred and sneers And alone he shall sit at the end of his days And wish he traveled by kindlier ways. He shall never be big who has never been kind But shall always be little of soul and of mind He may scramble and fight for everything in sight And may get to the peak by destroying the weak There he shall find that his conquests are spoiled And robbed of their charm by the way he has toiled. The service worthwhile is the service men give That others in sunshine and laughter may live. The big men are they who will pause on the way To play for another the role of a Brother The great men are they who are gentle and kind They live when they die in the presence left behind.
poem by John R. Rodgers (circa 1944)