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I think that more focus and specificity would be needed in order to gain a satisfactory answer. On one hand, I think that you want to explore the meaning of the statement in regard to Turgenev's work. This would require you to do several things. The most initial element is explore how the quote relates to specific characters in the work. Who said it or would have most likely said it? What does the quote reveal about the speaker? At the same time, linking the meaning of the quote to the overall meaning of the work would be essential in your explanation. This would require a detailed and thorough delving of what is in the quote and the work that converges unto one another.
Your quote is not from a Cat Stevens song. Perhaps you heard it wrong from your teacher. It come from General Douglas MacArthur's "A Father's Prayer."
You can learn all about the great general in the link cited below.
The prayer lists those attributes the general would like to see develop in his son. They are straight-forward. worthy ideas and each is self explanatory. In the end, the general concludes that if he has helped raise a son to successfully embody the desired traits, then he, the father, has not lived in vain:
Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clean, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, "I have not lived in vain."
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