Manvotional: Do It Now

by Brett & Kate McKay on December 15, 2012 · 20 comments

in A Man's Life, Manvotionals

Editor’s note: This week’s article on giving more compliments reminded me of this poem. It’s a simple poem, but I like it very much, I suppose because I’m a simple man.

Do It Now
By Berton Braley

If with pleasure you are viewing
any work a man is doing,
If you like him or you love him,
tell him now;
Don’t withhold your approbation
till the parson makes oration
And he lies with snowy lilies on his brow;
No matter how you shout it
he won’t really care about it;
He won’t know how many teardrops you have shed;
If you think some praise is due him
now’s the time to slip it to him,
For he cannot read his tombstone when he’s dead.

More than fame and more than money
is the comment kind and sunny
And the hearty, warm approval of a friend.
For it gives to life a savor,
and it makes you stronger, braver,
And it gives you heart and spirit to the end;
If he earns your praise – bestow it,
if you like him let him know it,
Let the words of true encouragement be said;
Do not wait till life is over
and he’s underneath the clover,
For he cannot read his tombstone when he’s dead.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jon B. Silvis December 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Just heard a young man give a talk on his project. Its called;

because I said I would

Its a tribute to his dad who always kept his word. Very interesting!

2 Bryan December 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm

There was a gentleman who influenced me a lot when I was younger. He was the kind of guy whose life was a lesson in how to live. A true man of God. Just found out last week that he had died suddenly of cancer. The news hit me hard, and I wished I could have had a chance to thank him for everything that he had taught me. I’m going to write his wife a sympathy note (referencing the AoM post about that), trying her what he meant to me.

So yeah, this post is exactly right: there’s no guarantee about tomorrow, and if there’s some person who has influenced your life, once they’re gone you’ll be really glad if you took the time to thank them first.

3 KT December 16, 2012 at 8:41 am

This poem has truth!

I was sitting in church one evening, my mother was the choir director and I was there with her, when a man came in and asked for my father. This man was emotional. He had tears streaming down his face and his hair was all messed up. My father, who had been the choir director of the church before my mother, had died a few years earlier of cancer. This man had no idea of this. My mother walked up to the man and told him that my father had died a few years earlier. The man fell to his knees crying his eyes out. After gathering himself and apologizing for his condition the man told my mother that he had photo-bombed a class photo by flipping the bird. My father was a highschool music teacher and this man in his mid fourties was one of my fathers students. The man said my father got so upset at him that my father just shook his head and walked away refusing to talk to the man again.

This man was comming to apologize to my father and was too late. He said he lived that day over and over in his head because he admired my father so much. He was always afraid to talk to my father. Then it was too late.

This poem has truth!

4 Brendan December 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

This is heavy stuff. Good post.

5 JAG December 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm

This poem spells the truth in plain english. How we as people have forgotten the miracle of gratitude. As I, I am thankful for my wife, children, my family. All though I find myself yearning for something so very special which was so great from my recent past, but for now it seems to be out of my reach, praying for the almighty God in heaven to grant it a new, his agope, that then I pray lord to change me into the man he want me to be, the husband, father, friend molded by his great hands. This fire is hot and at times gets hotter as it blazes to the very soul of this man, I. I ask how long shall I have to wait, wanting, yearning for his miracle.

6 Michael December 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm

If you like that poem, you should check out the country music song, “Give Me Flowers While I’m Living.” It’s basically the same message and an amazing song.

7 Eric Petersen December 16, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Love it! We should give praise when praise is due. We should show love to others with our kind words and encouragement when they are down. This is all about just being a decent human being.

Can you imagine how much better the world would be if we lived these principles presented here?

8 Luke|and|etc December 17, 2012 at 6:19 am

In college I had the privilege of having the school’s former Dean of Arts and Sciences as my thesis Advisor. He was served in Vietnam and Korea, had a doctorate in history, quoted from Ezekiel and King Lear and random Chinese proverbs, always maintaining this incredible quiet humbleness. Truly a great man. He died just after my graduating year; I still am in contact with his wife.

He wasn’t one for hyperbole, and I don’t think I could have adequately stated to him how much he had influenced my life, but I believe he knew what he was doing, investing in a random student over coffee once a week. I am so proud to have been his final student.

9 Bill December 17, 2012 at 8:44 am

Years ago my dad was a coach for CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) baseball. One kid wanted to play but the school and church said “no” because the kid was Protestant (there was no Little League in our small town then). My dad threatened to quit and let everyone know why if the kid wasn’t allowed to play. The school and church relented.

Years later, the boy (now a man) was back in town from out west. He made it a point to come to see my dad and to thank him for standing up for the kid and for what was right.

My dad died suddenly within a month.

10 Andrew December 17, 2012 at 9:13 am

“How strange are the ways of men! They will spare no word of praise for their contemporaries, who live in their very midst, and yet they covet greatly for themselves the praise of future generations, whom they have never seen and never will see. Almost as well grumble at not having praise from one’s ancestors!” – from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

11 Dave B. December 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Great poem. This site more than anything else has taught me to appreciate poetry.

12 Orrin December 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Nothing quite like receiving a warm, sincere compliment. And it’s nice to know I can make others feel great by giving them the same.

13 Matt December 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm

An interesting commentary on Manliness–the decline of–in the NYT.

14 Adam December 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm

It is an interesting poem and serves a good reminder that should seize the day in many aspects … including telling people what we think of them.

15 joseph January 1, 2013 at 2:58 am

i just this morning told my dad how much he has ment to me, last night i called up my boss-a german volunteer with whom we care for destitute kids here in Kenya,EastAfrica-,and i told her thankyou for the work she does. needless to say i slept well…..This poem is the truth,the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help us GOD to bestow gratitude where it is due

16 MGM January 7, 2013 at 9:10 am

Great post. I always write a card to my mentors once a year around the holidays. Sometimes former mentors whom I have not spoke to in years. I also keep a journal for my son if I pass before I get a chance to tell him about my life.

17 Dan January 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Reminds me of the man who sent a note complementing someone each day. He found the people appreciated it and the act actually improved his life.

18 Rob February 22, 2013 at 4:44 am

@Dan that sounds interesting – do you have any more details on this guy that sends out a complementary note each day?

19 Tim May 11, 2013 at 6:03 am

People seldom get the flowers while they can still smell ‘em

-Kanye West

20 Joel Foran October 28, 2013 at 7:41 am

Excellent poem. First time I read it was in a book of Masonic poems at my Lodge.

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