IN THE SPIRIT: Found: Long lost words of wisdom

For starters, I asked my grandchildren, Elyn and Ethan, if they knew the meaning of the word "multitude?" Two little heads shook from side to side. Ethan just completed first grade and Elyn third. I guess those words are yet to come for them. So,...

Naomi Dunavan
Naomi Dunavan

For starters, I asked my grandchildren, Elyn and Ethan, if they knew the meaning of the word "multitude?"

Two little heads shook from side to side.

Ethan just completed first grade and Elyn third. I guess those words are yet to come for them.

So, I explained it this way:

"Ethan, you have a multitude of Legos and Elyn you have a multitude of Polly Pockets." Aha! The lights of understanding flipped on for they know the mounds they have of their favorite toys.


We were at the breakfast table at their house when next I read to them a one-sentence quote I had come across in a little blue book. I asked them to explain to me in their own words the meaning of: "True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in the worth and choice."

Elyn said she thought it meant that it's a lot more fun to have a few good friends than a whole bunch who are not so nice. Ethan concurred although he may not know the meaning of that word either.

I have met some of their friends and so far E and E have chosen well.

Autograph books

The little book I read from surfaced when I spring-cleaned the basement. It has my childhood (and adult) nickname (Tude) in my pencil printing probably when I was Elyn's age. I don't recall where I got this gem.

Titled "Autograph Album Selections," it was compiled by a teacher named William A. Kramer and published by Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Mo., in 1935 with second, third and fourth printings in later years.

Kramer collected these thoughts to help his students when he discovered that what they were writing in each other's autograph book was trite and lacked character. He felt the absence of good material was the cause so he gathered the quotations of people and had them published.

Remember autograph books? We used to write such things as: "My pen is poor, my ink is pale. My love for you will never fail."


Do kids nowadays have autograph books? If so, I wonder what they write.

There are 288 selections in Kramer's publication under such headings as: Little Friends, Beauty, Character, Circumspect Speech, Comfort, Courage, Education, Faithfulness, Friendship, Happiness, Kindness, Labor, Memories, Perseverance, Prayer, Service and Trust.

Here are a few of the golden nuggets for life:

• "Beautiful eyes are those that show, beautiful thoughts that burn below; Beautiful lips are those whose words leap from the heart like songs of birds; Beautiful hands are those that do, work that is earnest, brave and true, moment by moment the whole day through."

• "Whoever you are, be noble; whatever you do, do well; whenever you speak, speak kindly; give joy wherever you dwell."

• "No man gets on so well in this world as he whose daily walk and conversation are clean and consistent, whose heart is pure and whose life is honorable."

• "For life is the mirror of king and slave; 'tis just what we are and do; So give the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you."

• "A little said and truly said, can deeper joy impart; than hosts of words that reach the head, but never reach the heart."


• "Oh, many a shaft at random sent, finds mark the archer little meant. And many a word at random spoken, may soothe or wound a heart that's broken."

• "Somebody cares! What a world of woe. Lifts from our hearts when we really know; that somebody really and truly cares, that we're in somebody's thoughts and prayers. I want you to know, and I feel that you do, that somebody is always caring for you."

• "Be strong! We are not here to play, to dream, to drift; we have hard work to do and loads to lift. Shun not the struggle; face it. 'Tis God's gift."

• "Dare to do right, dare to be true! Other men's failures can never save you. Stand by your conscience, your honor, your faith; Stand like a hero and battle til death."

• "It is well to house and clothe and feed, but the mind and heart have also need; and to freeze the heart and starve the mind, for the want of care is most unkind."

• "All that you do, do with your might; things done by halves are never done right."

• "Sometimes I think of faithful friends, sometimes of those most true, sometimes of olden, golden friends who've proved themselves all through; And when I think of friends like these, I always think of you."

• "May the friendships formed in childhood blossom in our riper years; and as time flows on be strengthened, whether joy be ours or tears!"


• "The loss of all our possessions is more easily borne than the loss of a faithful friend."

• "The sweetest bird builds near the ground, the loveliest flowers spring low; and we must stoop for happiness if we its worth would know."

• "A stamp is just a little thing of very little worth, And yet 'twill take a letter all the way across the earth. A smile is just a little thing, but you will find this true: to give it brings much happiness to others and to you."

• "Learn to make the most of life, lose no happy day; time will never bring you back, chances swept away. Leave no tender word unsaid, love while life shall last; For the mill will never grind with the water that has passed."

• "Good, better, best; never let it rest, till your 'good' is better and your 'better' best."

• "If you've tried and have not won, never stop for crying; all that's good and great is done just by patient trying."

• "Our greatest glory consists in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

• "In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich."


And the next one I'm going to ask E and E to put into their own words is:

• "Help the weak when you are strong, love the old when you are young, own a fault when you are wrong, if you're angry, hold your tongue."

The Herald publishes Naomi Dunavan's In the Spirit column the second Saturday of each month. Check out her blog: .

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