Essay # 1
- The character of a man depends on what he reveres; the religious man.
- A boy should be taught to revere God„ his, parents and those who live noble lives.
- The value of reverence. Hero-worship.
- The evils of irreverence.
Find out what a man reveres and you have the key-note to his character. The religious man, is one who reveres God, and he who reveres God will try to act up to his idea of the Deity, will despise all baseness and all meanness, and live a pure, honourable and virtuous life because God represents for him all that is high and noble, and that which is contrary to the nature of God cannot find favour in his sight.
What should a boy revere? His religion first of all, because that is the guiding principle of his life and next to his religion, his parents and all those who have lived or are living noble and virtuous lives. The particular men or actions that he singles out for special reverence will no doubt depend partly on his bent of mind. The budding soldier will make heroes of the great soldiers of history, the young scientist of those who have by their scientific studies enlightened the world. He who finds his delights in poetry and literature will honour the great poets and writers.
Let us consider in what way the quality of reverence benefits mankind. The value of good deeds is self-evident. What spurs on men to do good deeds? The approval of their own conscience, the satisfaction of being of use in their world are powerful motives; but the desire to win the respect of their fellows ‘is an element that must be taken into account. The power of reverence in the hearts of men is then a stimulus to, others, and prompts them to act in stitch ways as will gain that reverence. Again, some men have the faculty of hero-worship more highly developed than others. Their nature seems to demand that they should single out some special individual for praise and imitation. This faculty may be turned to very valuable use. Teach a child to distinguish between what is bad and what is good, to recognize the value of patient unremitting toil, of high endeavour, lofty ideals, and successful achievements in an honourable cause and he will naturally honour those who have lived and died in the service of their community. Those who are worthy of the praise he will wish to imitate. His reverence for them will become a guiding principle.
There are men without reverence. They can see no good in any noble action. They will find or pretend to find an ignoble motive in every deed that wins the approbation of mankind in general. Nothing is safe from their scoffs and jeers. Neither a sense of duty, nor filial love, nor self-sacrifice in any shape or form, can win a word of praise from their lips. Spite, malice and envy are in their hearts and influence their actions. Their life is a burden to themselves and others. Let them be a warning to cultivate a spirit of reverence for all that is noble and of good repute.
Essay # 2
- Children must be taught reverence.
- Irreverence: a serious fault, due to unfortunate training or to conceit.
- Reverence must be paid only to objects worthy of reverence.
Ruskin used to say that the teaching of reverence should be an essential part of every child’s education. But he also pointed out that the faculty of reverence was innate in all human beings, and that the teaching of reverence meant simply the drawing out or developing, and the guidance, of this faculty. This can best be done through stories of heroic actions and good deeds, and the examples of noble and good men. Children are great hero-worshippers, and the chief thing in teaching them reverence is to put before them for their worship heroes who are worthy of their respect, admiration and imitation.
Irreverence is a serious defect in character. It may arise from an unfortunate experience in childhood. If a child is badly brought up and surrounded by mean and selfish and bad people, he may grow up to be a cynical man. Cynical means doubting the very existence of real honesty, unselfishness, heroism and virtue. A man who believes that all apparently good deeds are done from a bad motive and that no man is really honest and no woman really pure is a cynic: and a cynic reveres nothing. Such an attitude of mind is fatal and can produce nothing but unhappiness or a vicious life. Irreverence may also be due to conceit. A vain fellow, who thinks he is better and cleverer in every way than anyone else, will course acknowledge no one to be his superior, and so will not revere anyone. Such a man may be cured of irreverence if the conceit can be knocked out of him. “Most people, however, revere something or someone. But their reverence is often misguided. The savage kneeling down in awe and fear and worship before an idol of stone or wood is full of reverence; but he is in his blind ignorance, groping after some being whom he can revere and worship; and when the true God is revealed to him, he will turn away from his image and transfer his reverence to Him who alone is worthy of it.
We must learn to give reverence where reverence is due to God, and to real goodness, nobility and heroism in man: and we must also learn to despise all that is unworthy of reverence, such as all worldly success that is due to trickery, mere wealth, and brag. For to revere a man simply because he is rich, is to be no better than the savage worshipping an idol.