“Get a backbone not a wishbone”

I recently found these words of advice for young people but it seems to me that the message could be relevant for all ages.

“Always we hear the cry from teenagers ‘What can we do, where can we go?’ 
… My answer is, “Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons, and after you’ve finished, read a book.” 

“Your town does not owe you recreational facilities and your parents do not owe you fun. The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no one will be at war, in poverty or sick and lonely again.”

 “In other words, grow up, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you…””


The advice was given by a Judge in Denver, USA in the 60’s, modernised by a New Zealand Judge and used most recently by Northland College (NZ) Principal, John Tapene. Here are some links for where the above words have appeared: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1908&dat=19831216&id=30grAAAAIBAJ&sjid=29UEAAAAIBAJ&pg=1457,8085855, http://currents.michaelsampson.net/2012/02/gohome.html

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