This week’s #WednesdayWisdom is a Poem written by Samual Ulman. Sam served on the Board of Education in Birmingham, Alabama for 18-years (1884 to 1902) where he advocated for educational benefits for Black children in a region of America that wasn’t willing to accept change.

Prior to his death in 1924 he wrote a poem titled Youth which was made famous by General Douglas MacArthur – who posted the poem behind is desk in the Dai-Ichi Building, Japan during his oversight of the rebuilding of Japan following World War II. If you’d like to learn more about the story behind this poem – the attached PDF provides a great summary of this poem, MacArthur and how they both impacted the lives of Youth in Japan in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing, child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.”

As we enter the summer of 2024 – remind yourself, you are not getting older. Age is only a number. What we love is what matters.

Stay curious. Stay hungry. Spend time around children and copy their love of life.

This will be the best present you can give to yourself, your team, and your clients this summer.