What should a boy revere? His religion first of all, because that is the guiding principle of his life and next to his religion, his parents and all those who have lived or are living noble and virtuous lives. The particular men or actions that he singles out for special reverence will no doubt depend partly on his bent of mind.
The budding soldier will make heroes of the great soldiers of history, the young scientist of those who have by their scientific studies enlightened the world. He who finds his delights in poetry and literature will honour the great poets and writers.
Let us consider in what way the quality of reverence benefits mankind. The value of good deeds is self-evident. What spurs on men to do good deeds? The approval of their own conscience, the satisfaction of being of use in their world, are powerful motives; but the desire to win the respect of their fellows is an element that must be taken into account.
The power of reverence in the hearts of men is then a stimulus to others, and prompts them to act in such ways as will gain that reverence. Again, some men have the faculty of hero-worship more highly developed than others. Their nature seems to demand that they should single out some special individual for praise and imitation.
This faculty may he turned to a very valuable use. Teach a child to distinguish between what is bad and what is good, to recognize the value of patient unremitting toil, of high endeavour, lofty ideals, and successful achievements in an honourable cause, and he will naturally honour those who have lived and died in the service of their community. Those who are worthy of praise he will wish to imitate. His reverence for them will become a guiding principle.
There are men without reverence. They can see no good in any noble action. They will find or pretend to find an ignoble motive in every deed that wins the approbation of mankind in general.
Nothing is safe from their scoffs and jeers. Neither a sense of duty, nor filial love, nor self-sacrifice in any shape or form, can win a word of praise from their lips.
Spite, malice and envy are in their hearts and influence their actions. Their life is a burden to themselves and others. Let them be a warning to cultivate a spirit of reverence for all that is noble and of good repute.