Quote

Teacher as a Role Model?

Back before the word “blog” was coined, I discovered a short poem that resonated with me.  I’ve kept an old-fashioned paper copy of it and shared it with a few friends over the years.  I did not realize then that I only had a portion of the original poem which was incorrectly titled “Teacher as a Role Model.”  Thanks to the wealth of instantly-accessed information on the internet, I now know the name of the author, and a little about his life, and some of his other works, and what he looked like…

I’d like to share with you the complete, original version of the poem: 

Sermons We See

I’d rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.

The eye’s a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example’s always clear;

And the best of all the preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it
if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.

And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;

For I might misunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.

When I see a deed of kindness,
I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles
and a strong man stays behind

Just to see if he can help him,
then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful
as I know that friend to be.

And all travelers can witness
that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them,
but the one who shows the way.

One good man teaches many,
men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed
is worth forty that are told.

Who stands with men of honor
learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language
which to every one is clear.

Though an able speaker charms me
with his eloquence, I say,
I’d rather see a sermon
than to hear one, any day.

by Edgar Albert Guest

b&w film copy neg.

photo from the Library of Congress

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