A Straight Wall Is Hard to Build
by Lou R. Crandall
As I try to outline my thoughts, the subject becomes more and more difficult. I have many basic beliefs but as I try to pick and choose it seems to me that they all can be summarized in the word "character." Obviously, what you believe is a fundamental thing. There can be no fanfare, no embellishments. It must be honest.
An architect once told me that the most difficult structure to design was a simple monumental shaft. The proportions must perfect to be pleasing. The hardest thing to build is a plain straight wall. The dimensions must be absolute. In either case there is no ornamentation to hide irregularities, no moldings to cover hidden defects and no supports to strengthen concealed weaknesses.
I am using this example to illustrate human character, which to me is the most important single power in the world today. The young people of toady are in reality foundations of structures yet to be built. It is obvious that the design of these human structures is the combined efforts of many human architects. Boys and girls are influenced first by their parents, then by their friends and finally by business associates. During this period of construction, the human character is revised and changed until at maturity a fairly well-fixed form of character is found.
There are few human straight walls and fewer human monumental shafts. Such men and women are personalities of great beauty and are so rare that history records their being and holds them up as examples for the future. The Biblical characters are for me the closest examples of human perfection. They were unselfish, steadfast in their faith and unstinting in their help to others.
Today in this world of turmoil and trouble we could use more of such people, but they do not just happen along. I believe that they are the result of concentrated effort on the part of parents and associates, and the more we build with character the better the world will become. This may sound like a dreamer's hope and a theoretical goal which can never be reached. I do not think so.
The world as a whole has progressed tremendously material-wise, and we are a fortunate nation in that we are leading the procession. It is, I believe, natural that nations not so fortunate should look upon us with envy. We would do the same if the positions were reserved, so we should not judge too harshly the efforts of others to equal our standard of living. In either case, the fortunate or the unfortunate character in the individual and collectively in a nation stands out. I agree that it is easier to build character under ideal conditions but cannot forget that character is also required to give as well as receive.
It should be to the benefit of humanity if all individuals - and this includes myself - did a renovation or remodeling job on our own character. It may merely be a case of removing rough edges or tossing away molding to expose irregularities, in some cases to remove a prop and stand on one's own feet. In any event if some of us set example, others will follow and the result should be good. This I believe.