Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832) is an important writer in the German language and Western culture. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, philosophy, and science and continue to be an inspiration. His wide-ranging thinking lends itself well to defining the twelve points of the Scout Law:
Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.
Love can do much, but duty more.
Difficulties increase the nearer we approach the goal
If you treat an individual… as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.
The surest means of nursing and preserving a friendship consists, I find, of sharing with one another what one is doing. Humans overlap far more often in what they do than in what they think.
Love does not dominate; it cultivates.
Be generous with kindly words, especially about those who are absent.
There is not a single outward mark of courtesy that does not have a deep moral basis.
Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.
He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy.
Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.
We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright.
What is hardest of all? That which seems most simple: to see with your eyes what is before your eyes.
Where is the man who has the strength to be true, and to show himself as he is?
To be pleased with one’s limits is a wretched state.
Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded.
Being brilliant is no great feat if you respect nothing.
For good measure here’s an interesting thought of Goethe’s for parents;
Too many parents make life hard for their children by trying, too zealously, to make it easy for them.
Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one.
There is no past we can bring back by longing for it. There is only an eternal now that builds and creates out of the past something new and better.