“If” is a wonderful poem written by Rudyard Kipling. The reason I like the poem is because it is good advice that will travel through generations of people. It is not just for today, but for yesterday and tomorrow. You will be able to tell your own children this advice. If a young man were to follow this advice, he would become a remarkable man. Many students have problems with the poem because it is too general. They have a difficult time applying the advice. If specific examples were given, they would comprehend the ideas better. The problem with that is that it would time date the poem. It would limit its comprehension to a specific situation. Kipling says,
“If you can make one heap of all your winnings/ And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss/ And lose, and start again at your beginnings/ And never breath a word about your loss.” (Stanza three)
It is meant to be general information that can be applied to numerous situations. I would strongly recommend this poem to others, and, in fact, I taught it to my students.