Over turkey dinner the other night my brother Dave brought up the passing of our father last Christmas. It had been rough on the whole family when the old man bought it unexpectedly, snowmobiling without a helmet. He left few things behind when he passed, but one of the treasures found in the snowmobile’s battered glove box was a copy of Character Building Thought Power by Ralph Waldo Trine. It gave me chills when I saw it because the old man had often read it to me as a child.
Dave, who teaches law now that he’s retired from his practice, told me he’d been reading sections of Trine’s book to his law students. A lot of the younger students had never heard of Trine or his unique approach to changing habitual patterns of thinking. Dave took it upon himself to nip that one in the bud; he assigned Trine’s Character Thought Building as required reading for the final semester. It turned out to be the students’ favorite book.
I was glad to hear Dave was sharing the book. My dad had counted it among his top 5 reads, standing alongside Plato’s The Republic, and Great Sea-faring Yarns, by H.M.S. Captain Leroy Belling. I feel it was no accident that my father had been carrying Trine’s book when he had his accident, since he had loved it so. I just wish he had been carrying his snowmobile helmet too.