Cardinal Virtues of Ladies & Gentlemen

George Washington Carver never married, and never had children of his own. But he saw himself as a father to all of his students at the Tuskegee Institute, and they viewed him the same way.

The graduating class of 1921 presented Dr. Carver with a beautiful fountain pen. He used that pen to write the following note to his children—

As your father, it is needless for me to keep saying, I hope, except for emphasis, that each one of my children will rise to the full height of your possibilities, which means the possession of these eight cardinal virtues which constitutes a lady or gentleman.

1st. Be clean both inside and outside.

2nd. Who neither looks up to the rich or down on the poor.

3rd. Who loses, if need be, without squealing.

4th. Who wins without bragging.

5th. Who is always considerate of women, children, and old people.

6th. Who is too brave to lie.

7th. Who is too generous to cheat.

8th. Who takes his share of the world and lets other people have theirs.

I think we would do very well if we, too, possessed these virtues, and taught them to our children.

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