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Puer Viri Pater Est

Alumnus Francis O'Shea '97 spoke today of an inscription found in the center of the bookcases of the Gordon Library, 3rd floor: "The Child is the Father of the Man." Francis recalled noticing this on a recent visit to the school. It resonated deeply. Although the saying is much older, a recent usage can be found in a poem penned by William Wordsworth in 1802 entitled The Rainbow:

                        My heart leaps up when I behold
                        A rainbow in the sky:
                        So was it when my life began;
                        So is it now I am a man;
                        So be it when I shall grow old,
                                     Or let me die!
                        The Child is father of the Man;
                        I could wish my days to be
                        Bound each to each by natural piety.

The experiences of childhood, both positive and negative, create impressions that become deeply etched in our minds. This became evident, again, in listening to Francis today. Francis' recollections of his childhood experiences within the walls of Saint David's left a powerful and lasting impression on him--one, he said, that gave him his positive outlook on life. Childhood should be "a rainbow in the sky" for all children--the Child is father of the Man. Our children too teach us. We should listen.


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