My father was a gentle, calm, and wise man. “He never raised his voice except to give encouragement nor raised his hand except to greet a friend.” But in his gentleness he was also strong in his convictions. The principles by which he lived his life were not subject to compromise. Games, for instance, which he loved, must be played hard and to win but the spirit of sportsmanship was to be obeyed absolutely. Once, when I was about twelve-years-old and beginning to do well at tennis, in a fit of pique I cast down my racket and stamped about in a temper. After the game my father met me, took my racket and looked into my eyes and said very quietly that if I behaved like that again I did not deserve ever again to play games. More than 70 years have passed but the look from his steady grey eyes and the quiet words I have not forgotten.

My father had strong views on the value of time. As I grew older, I often got into conversations with him about the importance of not wasting time. He tried to make me as aware as he could of the fact that the passing hours one would never have again and must be spent constructively, honestly, considerately of other people, enjoyably too and always used to full effect. Those passing hours gradually added up into a lifetime and that lifetime would be judged, by man and God, according to how the hours had been measured, idly or in fruitful commitment.

My father expressed his concern for giving full value to time in a series of propositions, which he took very seriously. “Of all treasure time is the most precious,” “Procrastination is the thief of time,” and “Punctuality is the courtesy of kings” are three I recall in particular…..

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