Lessons From My Father

Years ago, when I was a kid, my father offered $1.00 (yes, that’s one dollar) to myself and my siblings as a prize for the first of us to memorize and recite this poem:

Don't Quit TItle

Happy to say, I won the challenge and pocketed my $1.00! Which, by the way, went quite a long way back then, when penny candy really was a penny and an ice cold Coca Cola was a nickel!

Coca Cola Bottle VintageFor all these years, through many moves and changes, the tattered copy of the poem remains in my top desk drawer,

Don't Quitserving as a constant reminder of my father, now long since past, and the legacy he left behind. One of giving back, of perseverance and fighting against all odds, and it remains my go-to thought when I am feeling especially defeated. It begins:

Don't Quit

The author of the poem is unknown, which is a shame, because I would like to have had the opportunity to thank him (or her) for many times motivating me to keep moving forward and upwards, especially when I am feeling the most down. The next stanza reads:

“Life is queer with its twists and turns, as everyone of us sometimes learns.

And many a failure turns about, When he might have won, had he stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow, You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out. The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.

And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far.

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,

It’s when things seem worse, that you must not quit.”

So, I will leave you on this Father’s Day, knowing that my own dad would have been so proud of his kids and grandkids, who every day strive to be better people, to give back to those in need and to greet each day with a renewed sense of purpose and determination, no matter the obstacles. And to all of the extraordinary men in my life, including my dad (and no cracks about the bridal hat, please. It was a thing back in the 70’s!!)

Dad and Me Wedding Day PMalong with my friends and fathers and sons, brothers and uncles and grandfathers, I wish you a very happy and relaxing day filled with the love of your families and friends. Happy Father’s Day, everyone!! Susan


  1. pudaoking says:

    Hi, the author of that poem, “Don’t Give Up” was John Greenleaf Whittier 1807-1892. Also there are some slight inconsistencies with the version you have and the original. There is also an additional sentence missing at the end that goes ; For all the sad words of tongue or pen The saddest are these, “It might have been”.


  2. Jan Forster says:

    Very nice! By the way, I’ve had a copy of this same poem in my desk drawer since 1970 or so, when I first started at Bank of Boston! And I can still recite it too! I’ve since passed a copy on to Christine. Don’t remember where mine came from though. Definitely not my father, but maybe my mom? Someone wise I guess. Are you doing Pettengill Farm next weekend? Ashley’s mom has a booth.




    • Hi! I guess great minds think alike : ) I will be at Pettengill Farm on Saturday and most likely again on Sunday as well. Can’t wait!! Do you happen to know if she has a name for her booth?


  3. So nice Susan! Happy Father’s Day to you!!


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