Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems Chapter 16 – Getting Along with People

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems

Chapter 16 – Getting Along with People

“One of the earliest experiences of life, is the realizing that there are other people. It comes to the child when it first discovers that its freedom is limited by the will of another. It cannot always have its own way. It finds its will opposed, and its pleasure interrupted. Other people have something to say about the carrying out of its little plans.” -JRM

Do you recall when this happened to you?  I do.  I recall vividly the moment in my youth when I discovered that there were others in the room; that the world really did not revolve around me as I had previously thought. It was quite unnerving, this discovery of my own self-centeredness. In time I also realized I couldn’t do it on my own, needed others and much grace from above. Miller’s revelations here are quite true, having important things to say about the realities of immaturity and necessities of getting over ourselves in our daily encounters: “It is not always easy to accept gracefully these contacts with others, and to enter into kindly relations with them.”

“We never can learn love’s lessons, except in life’s school, where the lessons are set for us in actual human relationships.”

“It is the self-discipline of friendship and home and human fellowship which makes men and women of us, which makes us like Christ.”

There is much wisdom in this chapter.  It is hard to confine myself to a few summary words.  But here are his key points:

  • It is a “problem not so easily solved.”
  • “We must have the spirit of love,” and need to have its right definition.
  • “We need patience in living with others. Patience implies suffering” that is not easily accepted.
  • “The spirit of SERVICE is another secret of living together happily. One who demands that others must show him deference, … has not learned the true art of living with others.”
  • “Getting on well with others is to INSPIRE them — to expect noble and beautiful things of them, to set as our aim to bring out the best that is in them.”
  • “THOUGHTFULNESS is another of the secrets of happy living with others. Most young people begin life without this grace. …Thoughtfulness has to be learned — but when it is learned it is a marvelous sweetener of life.”
  • “Another essential is GOOD TEMPER. Love is not easily provoked. It bears all things.”

Miller expands upon the meaning and application of the all the above, adding: “We all are human; and there are few of us who at best, do not say words, or do things, which give pain to those closest to us. Even true love is not always just and kind. Then it is that love must outdo love — the one who has been hurt must show love’s long-suffering, overcoming evil with good.” 

He closes with, “…young people should take up this lesson as one that must be learned, if they would make much of their life. For if it is said of anyone that other people cannot live with him — then it is evident that something is seriously wrong.”  “It should be the aim of all, as much as lies in them, to live peaceably with all others. The law of loving service, patience, good temper, and all the Christian graces” goes beyond mere necessity if our lives are to be Christ honoring,   …a blessing to all whom [we] touch.”

Find the full text on Grace Gems at: 

Chapter 17 – The Matter of Social Duties

(to be continued)

— Joe LoGiudice, Principal