Armenian News Network / Groong


Armenian News Network / Groong
February 8, 2010

By Kay Mouradian, EdD

In my heart I, along with many Armenians throughout the world, honor Henry Morgenthau, Sr., the American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913-1916. Morgenthau championed and alerted the world to the sufferings of the Turkish Armenians in 1915. A charismatic and wealthy man with a degree in law, he lived by the ethical principles he had planted as seeds during his young teenage years.

At age fourteen he took seriously his confirmation at temple and visited churches of all denominations, making abstracts of sermons by famous pulpit orators of his day, especially Congregationalists Henry Ward Beecher and Richard Storrs. Emerson, at the time, was leading American thought and young Henry Morgenthau also read the works of Horace Greeley and William Bryant. He was learning how human great men really are.

In the Morgenthau home at the time was a border, a hunchbacked Quaker doctor, who was softened instead of embittered by his affliction. He and Henry had become fast friends. Young Henry listened to the noble doctor's long talks and loved the inspirational 1762 book by William Penn, No Cross No Crown which the doctor had given him. That book prompted young Henry to compose twenty-four rules of actions tabulating virtues he wished to acquire and vices he needed to avoid. He made a chart and every night he marked his breaches of that day. Much like an athlete who practices hours to perfect his skills, Morgenthau loved focusing and demanding his will in victory over those vices. That's how he built his moral muscles as a young man. He titled his chart:

Tabulating virtues to be acquired and vices to be avoided:

I've read this chart often throughout my research of this great man and when I look at the quality of the virtues he charted, I'm still astonished that a boy of fourteen would take such deep interest in developing his moral muscles in preference to playing football or searching out pretty girls in school. Those moral muscles he developed and practiced as a teenager built within him strength of an honest power that eventually led to the world's recognition of him as a wealthy entrepreneur, a diplomat extraordinaire and a notable humanitarian.

I wonder if it is even possible in today's celebrity driven society to encourage our young Armenian boys and girls to follow Morgenthau's conscious preparation for living an honorable way of life and ask them to design similar charts of their own. If they did and faithfully took note of their daily breaches and tried to overcome them, could they, then, grow into the likes of a Henry Morgenthau and become great men and women with hearts filled with goodness for humanity?

Professor Kay Mouradian is a health and physical education specialist
retired from the Los Angeles Community Colleges. Her publications
include Reflective Meditation: a Mind Calming Technique, A Guide for
Those Teaching Yoga in the Community Colleges, and she has also
contributed publications in several magazines and newspapers. Her
first novel, "A Gift In The Sunlight: An Armenian Story", now in its
second edition, was inspired by her mother's remarkable survival of
the Armenian Genocide.
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