The Humble Build

“The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”

John William Gardner

John William Gardner was born in Los Angels, California in 1912 when the West was still considered the Frontier.  His father died when he was only one year old; from that moment on his mother became his mentor and his strongest supporter.  In 1929, John Gardner entered Stanford and gained a solid reputation through hard work. At that time, he met Aida Marroquin, a Guatemalan woman, who would change his destiny.  He loved her deeply, even learning fluent Spanish to be able to effectively communicate with her.  They married in 1934.  His Spanish would hold him in good stead during the war years.  It was in those early years his desire to nurture human potential had its roots.  Over the years, this aspiration would become an obsession for him. He worked tirelessly to effect changes in health and education.  He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 and the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences in 1966.  John William Gardner knew how to build the infrastructure to cultivate and ready a new generation to take their place on the world stage.  He saw the future that we are living in…

“We don’t even know what skills may be needed in the years ahead.  That is why we must train our young people in the fundamental fields of knowledge, and equip them to understand and cope with change.  That is why we must give them the critical qualities of mind and durable qualities of character than will serve them in circumstances we cannot now even predict.”

John William Gardner, “Excellence”


Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

6 thoughts on “The Humble Build

  1. This gentleman lived in my parents’ generation. It seemed that so many of them had such a way of building many things, including betterment of young people’s lives. They were true “Statesmen”.


    1. It seems that they could see the opportunity fade away and worked towards giving back the joy of working towards a better life that was based on discovery, not consumerism, on knowledge, not cynicism. They serve as a guiding light….


  2. We have to make efforts for the future. Everyone has a role in proper development of children, because they are the future of this beautiful planet. We need simplicity and clarity of wisdom for our children, for their skills … I like very much your post !


    1. And I am fortunate to have you stop by for a visit and share your words of wisdom. I agree wholeheartedly – children our the future, whether you look at it from an economic factor (GDP) or from an artistic and creative perspective. They are the bridge to the future and the promise of humanity’s ultimate survival. My favourite quote about children comes from Rabindranath Tagore: “Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.” By the way, you have just given me my focus for the coming week – education. Thank you so much – glad that we connected.


    1. Merci beaucoup d’être passé pour une visite. Je suis votre blog et avons pu apprécier les photos. Je suis heureux que nous ayons connecté et je suis impatient de notre dialogue permanent. Je connais très peu le français mais j’ai un traducteur pour m’aider.


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