Friday, May 17, 2013

If

In the past five months, I along with countless others worldwide, have been captivated by our very own Canadian in space - Commander Chris Hadfield. I haven't been able to get enough of his tweets, his photos and his YouTube videos. As I watched his return to Earth the other night, I was thinking of one word - cooperation. One American, one Canadian, one Russian, and  an enormous team of men and women from all different nationalities were responsible for this unbelievable endeavour. To think of all the time that was spent on the Space Race - the United States and the Soviet Union fiercely competing to conquer space. It is true. Competition is often a good thing. But the image of the three astronauts sitting side by side after being removed from the Russian-made Soyuz capsule made me think that together we can achieve so much more.

Yesterday I watched as Commander Hadfield greeted the media in a Question and Answer session. I don't know why I was surprised at his commanding use of the French language. Of course he would speak French! And it is no surprise that he reads poetry either. During the press conference Hadfield quoted a line by Rudyard Kipling from the poem If. I was vaguely familiar with the poem, but looked it up to reacquaint myself.  I would venture a guess and say that not only is our Commander the definition of a lifelong learner, but that he is also a "Man."  

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

 
 


2 comments:

  1. Your posts are always so timely and relevant and weave in so many different pieces of information. I always finish reading your pieces feeling like my horizons have expanded.

    Chris Hadfield has been so inspiring not only to Canadians but to people around the world. I'm so proud to call myself a fellow Canadian (and Sarnian!) like him.

    The Kipling inclusion is really interesting. I read the biography of him you had out in the kitchen yesterday and wondered what it was for! I didn't know he was born in India.

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  2. Ahhh - Thank You! One can always count on mothers and daughters to read each other's work.

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