- Mottos show the importance of good company.
- Man is a social or “herd” animal and requires company.
- Good or bad companions have a deep and permanent effect on the character.
A good companion becomes a good friend, a great blessing. Man is not by nature a lonely animal but always likes social intercourse with his kind. Robinson Crusoe on his island was not happy alone, and it was like a gift from Heaven when the poor savage, Friday, came to be his companion. Our minds are influenced by the interchange of ideas, and we like to give service and receive friendship from others. The man who prefers to be alone is usually one who is saddened and disappointed by misfortunes in life. It is not a natural condition.
Companions should, as a rule, be those from whom we can profit in a mental and spiritual sense. They should be such persons as can impart to us good ideas of life and conduct. In a time of need, they should be able and willing to comfort us, and, in our misfortunes, they should be a source of strength. That does not mean that we should have as our friends and companions only those who are able to help because they are stronger and wiser than ourselves. Others will equally expect help and comfort from us, and we should be ready to give them the support that we expect to get from others.
A number of sayings show the importance of keepig good companions: “A man is judged by the company he keeps”, and “Birds of a feather flock together”. Good companians from around us a clean and wholesome atmosphere in which the mind and the spirit develop for good. Evil companions are a source of corruption and moral infection. They tend to undermine our principles, to hold up vice as an attractive thing, and to drag us down to their level. When a good companion becomes a tried friend, Shakespeare says that we should bind him to ourselves “with hoops of steel”, for such are very scarce in life.
We have all heard the fable of the pigeon that was captured in the company of crows, as they were eating the corn. When it pleaded innocence, the farmer said, “I have found you among thieves, and so I must treat you as a thief.” Your only contact with the weak or immortal should be as a superior trying to help them. If you go among them as an equal, then you must be content to be reckoned as one of themselves.