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Our History - I'm Third


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A boy started away from home to college, with the anxiety and interest which parents always feel when a son goes away from home. He was fortunate in having a fine Christian father and mother who believed in him.

Before he left home, his parents called him in and told him that there were some things that they wanted above all things. They wanted him to do well in college, but they did not want him to sacrifice some things in order that he might win popularity, or make high marks.

A few days after the young man arrived in school, a small framed motto appeared above his desk with these words upon it: "I'm Third." Everyone coming into the room was attracted by the uniqueness of this motto, and many asked what it meant. The young man would always reply, "I will tell you what that means the week I graduate from college."

Time went on. He kept his ideals high, and his Christian life unsullied; he did well in school, made his athletic teams, and was always foremost to take his place of responsibility, although never a great star or a headliner in studies or athletics.

Year after year this young man went to college and finally the last week of his senior year came, and the time the fellows were to come for their answer, and the why of the "I'm Third." When they questioned him he replied: "Fellows, when I was leaving home for college, my parents called me to them and said that they were anxious that I should do well in school; that I should make the athletic teams; that I should be popular, but that there were some things which they did not want me to sacrifice for these things; and they were not anxious that I should be a great star or headliner, but they were exceedingly anxious that I should remember to keep God first in my life, the other fellows second, and this motto means 'I'm Third,' and fellows, this I have tried to keep in my life."

There was a silence among the fellows present, and then they, too, understood why he had been chosen president of his class, president of the YMCA, and voted the most popular man in school. If anyone needed his friendship he was always there. No freshman ever came to him with a problem, no matter how insignificant, that he was not willing to be the big brother, the pal and the friend; because he had in his life one motto: "God first, the other fellow second, and I'm third."

—From a undated camp staff handbook

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