Since I was a youth I have loved this poem. I cannot remember where I came across it first, but it struck me. Now, having had Calvin—and been so profoundly changed by his presence in my life—I find this poem even more apropos.

To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one’s self;
To leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
and sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

This is an altered version of an original poem by Bessie Anderson Stanley, often falsely attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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