The Most Provocative Quotes of William Arthur Ward

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Teacher of truth... William Arthur Ward wrote words to inspire people toward freedom, optimism, and service. Here are some of his most provocative quotes.

I’m always looking for quotes by teachers who inspire me to be and do better coming from a perspective of faith—love for God and people. William Arthur Ward is one of those teachers.

He authored Fountains of Faith and hundreds of articles and poems. Ward is one of the most quoted Americans of the 20th Century. Born in 1921, he served for four years in the U.S. Military before earning several degrees and working in the field of education as teacher and administrator.

The following are some quotes that I find both thought-provoking and inspirational:

“Today is a most unusual day, because we have never lived it before; we will never live it again; it is the only day we have.”Teacher of truth... William Arthur Ward wrote words to inspire people toward freedom, optimism, and service. Here are some of his most provocative quotes.

“Deep optimism is aware of problems, but recognizes the solutions; knows about difficulties, but believes they can be overcome; sees the negative, but accentuates the positive; is exposed to the worst, but expects the best; has reason to complain, but prefers to smile.”

“A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.”

“Every person has the power to make others happy.
Some do it simply by entering a room
others by leaving the room.
Some individuals leave trails of gloom;
others, trails of joy.
Some leave trails of hate and bitterness;
others, trails of love and harmony.
Some leave trails of cynicism and pessimism;
others trails of faith and optimism.
Some leave trails of criticism and resignation;
others trails of gratitude and hope.
What kind of trails do you leave?”

“Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.”

“Teaching is more than imparting knowledge, it is inspiring change.
Learning is more than absorbing facts, it is acquiring understanding.”Teacher of truth... William Arthur Ward wrote words to inspire people toward freedom, optimism, and service. Here are some of his most provocative quotes.

“Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”

“Committing a great truth to memory is admirable; committing it to life is wisdom.”

“Lose yourself in generous service and every day can be a most unusual day, a triumphant day, an abundantly rewarding day!”

“Freedom’s enemies are waste, lethargy, indifference, immorality, and the insidious attitude of something for nothing.”

“Interruptions can be viewed as sources of irritation or opportunities for service, as moments lost or experience gained, as time wasted or horizons widened. They can annoy us or enrich us, get under our skin or give us a shot in the arm. Monopolize our minutes or spice our schedules, depending on our attitude toward them.”

“In the face of unjust criticism we can become bitter or better; upset or understanding; hostile or humble; furious or forgiving”

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.”

“Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate.”

[Tweet “Friendship flourishes at the fountain of forgiveness.”]

“We are more than what we do, much more than what we accomplish, far more than what we possess.”

“There is one thing we can do better than anyone else: we can be ourselves.”

What do you think? 

I love the way he shared godly principles and inspired people to freedom, optimism, and service.

Which of his quotes is your favorite?

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22 thoughts on “The Most Provocative Quotes of William Arthur Ward

  1. A favorite? I can’t pick just one. Deb, I always love your use of quotes. They are inspirational…and step on my toes a little too often. These are some to keep for future reference, for sure! Thanks. Blessings to you!

    1. Thank you Sabra. So many great words of inspiration have gone before. I especially love those who can give us succinct bits of hope. I’m always trying to keep my words on point. Thankful for good examples from inspiring Christian leaders.

    1. Oh, thank you Miranda. I’ve three of his quotes to feature this week. I love the way he mixed faith and attitude. The ability to see Jesus in our lives. Thanks again for your kind encouragement.

  2. Wow, I guess I never actually connected just how many of those quotes, that I’ve loved for so long, are from the same brain… Thank you for sharing this!

    1. I like that also Martha. I’ve seen it happen in our family. Gratitude lifts both the one receiving and the one giving. Praising God for His blessings changes everything!

  3. So much wisdom here! All of the quotes have a good take away, but I especially liked his words about a true friend and gratitude. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love quotes!! Thank you for sharing these. I think one of my very favorites from this list is “There is one thing we can do better than anyone else: we can be ourselves.”

  5. I love all these quotes but I have to say what stood out to me the most was the quote on how forgiveness is the foundation that flourishes friendships. So good!

  6. Deb, these are wonderful, wise and (often) witty words you have shared! It’s hard to find a favourite, but these speak into where I’m at right now:”“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” Thank you! Blessings. 🙂

  7. Wow, Deb! Each one is better than another. I wish I could pick just one that I love the best. Of course I like what he says about teaching and friendship. But I am also struck about what He says about forgiveness. Thank you for highlighting these today. I have not heard of William Arthur Ward until today. Blessings and love being your neighbor at #DanceWithJesus

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