Some time ago I was asked to give the address at a National Honor Society installation. I had so many things I wanted to share with those young people about how to live their lives honorably. After all, that was part of NHS, wasn’t it?  These were multi-talented kids in a small community where education was valued. We had been reading Emerson in English, and so many words of that wise man resonated with me at that moment.

I wanted them to be self-reliant in their searches for values and behavior choices. I suggested that when there was doubt they should think with their hearts, “walk in another’s moccasins” as they considered whether to step in or step away. I filled my message with quotations and ideas we’d discussed as we read Emerson’s writings.

When I rehearsed my talk with my favorite listener, my son, his first comment was, “Mom, you said Emerson too many times.” We’d been doing research, and I had to show them that when an idea is borrowed, it must be credited.

I told them to get to know who you are, what you value, and then I quoted the wise, loquacious windbag, Polonius.”This above all: To thine ownself be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not be false to any man.” (Hamlet, Act I, iii)

I must have done enough to reach them, because several asked me for a copy of my talk. And I was asked to give a message to seniors at two community churches that spring. Each year at this time I recall those precious days with young men and women who would speak for the next generations.