If you can use clothes to look attractive,
Yet not make appearance your sole or chief delight;
If you can run and swim, and stay strong and active,
But never lose your gentler side and kinder sight;
If you can dance without shame or critical acclaim,
And play without conforming too much to the game’s mold,
Enjoying the love of friends, family as the same,
While caring for the neglected, the downtrodden, and the old;

If you can master Spanish, Japanese, Greek and Latin,
And never act the least bit conceited, priggish, or vain,
If you can revel in the touch of silk and satin
Without dreading the rugged or the plain;
If you can wield a saw and use a hammer,
And do a day’s hard work when the need occurs,
Can sing when asked, without hesitance or stammer,
Can rise above insults, snubs, and slurs;

If you can make good bread and delicious fudges,
Can mend with skill and hold fast every trust,
If you can be a friend and bear no festering grudges,
You’ll be one whom all will love because they must;
If you can forge a career in places where you may be unwelcome,
And deal with demands that seem wholly unfair,
If you can press on when there is too much to be done,
You’ll be a person both remarkable and rare;

If sometime you should meet and love another
And make a home with joy and peace enshrined,
And you its center—a loving spouse and caring partner—
You’ll turn out pretty much the finest kind
The plan that’s been developing through the ages,
And win the bounty of life and so much more,
You’ll be, my dear, the model for the sages—
A woman whom the world will bow before.

This is an update of a poem written decades ago by ELIZABETH LINCOLN OTIS. At the time she saw becoming a wife and mother as the full fulfillment of female ambition. I believe we now have a more varied and broader view of female potential and ambition.

© 2014, Larry Conley. All rights reserved.

Larry Conley (36 Posts)

I am a veteran of the U. S. Army. My good fortune is to be married to a wonderful woman and have two remarkable twin sons who are making their way in the world. I taught civics in a Pittsburgh area middle school. I am a cat and dog lover.

One Comment

  1. Beautiful Larry. :)

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