A farm story – Six Pillars 2006

Dr. Bergen, Dr. Crisafulli, Ms. Sabolinski, Mr. Parnell, students, and honored guests:

Thank you for inviting me to this ceremony and for letting me be a part of this special event.  It is an honor to be here to witness the induction of you students into the six pillar society.  You were chosen because of exemplary character, demonstrated by hard work.

That is, you recognize that the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of persistence.  President Calvin Coolidge said it best many years ago:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

And education will not; the world is full of uneducated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

 You are here also because you have understand the importance of working well with others.

On that note, I have a farm story for you.  Many years ago, Franklin was home to many farms – not the Charles River Farms types of today, but ones with cows, chickens and pigs.  Here is what happened one night.

A mouse  looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a  package. “What food might this contain?”  he was devastated to discover it  was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the  warning. “There is a mousetrap in the house!   There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me.  I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the pig and  told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house.”  The  pig sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray.  Be assured you are in my prayers.”

 The  mouse turned to the cow.  She said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but  it’s no skin off my nose.”

So, the mouse returned to the house, head  down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone.

That very night  a sound was heard throughout the house ‑‑ like the sound of a mousetrap catching  its prey.

The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught.  In the  darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had  caught.

The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the  hospital, and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a  fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard  for the soup’s main ingredient.

But his wife’s sickness continued, so  friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock.  To feed them,  the farmer butchered the pig.

 The farmer’s wife did not get well; she  died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to  provide enough meat for all of them.

Not quite what you expected I bet.

But the story does remind us that when you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you, think twice.  Because when one of us  is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey  called life.  Good character reminds us that we must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

That’s what the six pillars of character are all about.  You must strive to be a caring, compassionate human being who loves your family and loves the people around you.  Try to wake up every morning honestly and sincerely wanting to do good things for your country.

To do that, I urge you to heed the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:  “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.”

On behalf of the School Committee, i applaud you for your efforts, congratulate you, and wish you well in the future.  Today the six pillar society is receiving a talented group of individuals who no doubt will give that organization a strong foundation.  The Franklin community is blessed and we are indeed proud of you.

Congratulations and thank you.

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