Make It a Habit to Dazzle

This morning, I found this line from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” quoted in a magazine.

You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light, and of every moment of your life.

I thought, that is beautiful advice. And I do love the word, dazzle.

I found the stanzas surrounding the line. Those lines made me think of my own father, a man who wanted me to know things like how to properly wash his tractor windows or how to ski fast over the moguls of the black trails in Aspen or how to read the markets to predict the best stock to buy. He wanted me to learn.

His intentions were good, but his teachings were short. He’d say, “Get back in there and figure it out.” I would be left fixing the streaks on the windows, or recovering from the wipe out on the mountain, or well, I never did get far with the stock markets. I got a C- in Macroeconomics.

When I read these lines, I think, wouldn’t it have been nice to have a dad who elaborated once in awhile? To use fun phrases such as dazzle of the light? Maybe throw in a few tips on how to get over my fear of falling on the slopes or a few paragraphs about why clean windows in a tractor are mandatory.

Despite his curt methods, I am glad I had a father who, like the narrator of this poem, wanted his muse (child) to be “a bold swimmer” and to think for herself.

Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams;
Now I wash the gum from your eyes;

You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light, and of every moment of your life.

Long have you timidly waded, holding a plank by the shore;
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.

Dew drops close up

… habit yourself to the dazzle of the light …

Inspired by the letter L (as in light and life) as part of the A-to-Z Challenge for the month of April.

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4 thoughts on “Make It a Habit to Dazzle

    • Yep. No coddling at our house. Maybe once. When I was stung by a bee, my dad gave me a sweet pep talk. You’re right. We parents need to create opportunities (or just stay by and watch) for the “I can do it” feeling, once they’ve accomplished something.


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