Results or Excuses

[Written Especially for Young People]

As an excuse for his lack of diligence in school works, a boy once told his father that the teacher did not like him, and hence he was not going to be promoted at the end of the term. Great was his surprise when his father did not appear disturbed but simply said: "Well, summer is coming and you will be able to study and make up you work. Then you can take an examination in the fall, and you will have lost no time at all." Realizing that if he failed to be promoted, he would lose the happy times he had planned for the summer, he proceeded to do some hard work. He passed his examinations and was able to spend his summer in vacation activities instead of in making up his study.

This experience made a great impression on the boy's thought. He realized that whether or not his excuse was accepted by his father, the result would have been only the postponement of the doing of the work, for he would not have been released from the necessity of completing it. As it turned out, the excuse was rejected and the work was finished at the right time.

It is easy to excuse one's self, to conjure up some apology to pacify one's conscience in spite of the fact that one is not completing some task which has come to one to do. The habit of making excuses often grows until one finds one's self ready with seemingly satisfactory reasons for failures. A boy may lose a game and immediately advance some excuse for his losing it. He is called a poor loser, because he is trying to save himself from the feeling of defeat, even at the cost of belittling the merit of the other boy's victory. His false pride makes him unable to look at the situation squarely. If he did so, he would make a change in himself or his methods, and thus overcome the difficulty; and his ability being increased, he might sometime be able to win. Instead of this he is content to find an excuse for his failure.

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April 7, 1934

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