The Way to Live

by Fanning Yater Tant (1908-1997)

(The following is from a notebook of my father when he was a student at David Lipscomb College, Nashville, Tennessee, in 1927. He was 18 years old at the time.)

The finest thing that a man can give to this old world as he journeys through,
Is to live each day as he ought to live, and do the things that he ought to do.

It matters not when the race is run, if he won or lost in the strife for gold,
For he then is judged by the good he’s done, and not by the wealth that he may hold.

It’s the friendly acts and the word of cheer, and the little lift along the way,
To our fellow man while we linger here, that really counts in the last Great Day.

It’s the cheery voice for the hearts that are weak, and the pleasant smile and the glad “Hello,”
And the helpful words that we daily speak, that the world will mention when we go.

So the finest thing and the best estate, that a man can own when he nears the end,
Is not his fame or his riches great, but the very fact that he’s been a friend.

A friend to man in his hour of need, a friend to his neighbor in his woe,
A man like this is a man indeed, and his name will live though his soul may go.

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