I make it a habit to read bulletin boards in my travels.

Much like the Internet, you never know what you might see. Unlike the Internet, what you may find is almost always worth your while.

As we used to say when I was one of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, the get is worth the give.

I came across this poem on a kindergarten bulletin board in Ripley years ago.

The kids couldn’t read it, of course. But I like to think the teachers taught the youngsters its principles. If so, those teachers met one of the goals of a quality education: Give students a solid foundation today to help them deal with tomorrow.

‘The Man in the Glass” was written by the late Dale Wimbrow in 1934. Despite the “man” in the title, its message applies equally to men and women.

The poem’s message is simple: Can you look in the mirror and accept what you see?

Can you stay true to your values every day? Can you commit to seeing a particularly hard challenge or task through to completion?

The Man in the Glass contains a message most military men and women can relate to. Sometimes asked to operate in the most extreme and dangerous environments, honoring values -- i.e. accomplishing the mission -- is absolutely crucial to survival.

Sometimes, even the best of us try to fit in with the crowd. Acceptance can be a heady drug, and it’s intoxicated all of us at one time or another.

But the crowd and its acceptance moves on; the jugglers and the clowns do their tricks as the parade continues down the street and out of sight.

But the man or woman in the glass never goes away.

-0-

When you get what you want in your struggle for self

And the world makes you king for a day,

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself

And see what this man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife

Whose judgment upon you must pass.

The fellow whose verdict counts the most in your life

Is the one staring back from the glass.

You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum

And think you're a wonderful guy,

But the man in the glass says you're only a bum

If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please --- never mind all the rest,

For he's with you clear to the end.

And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test

If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years,

And get pats on the back as you pass.

But your final reward will be heartache and tears

If you've cheated the man in the glass.

-0-

Late major league pitcher, and later sports broadcaster, Herb Score carried the poem with him since he was a sophomore in high school.

He once said about it: "The meaning to me is that we must make the best of the ability that God has given us. We have to do the things that are right rather than those that make us look good or make us popular. When all is said and done each day and we put our head on the pillow, it's just us and God and we can't fool either one..."

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