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When I was a child, there was a good deal of adult conversation to the effect that children had to learn to be unselfish. It was a word that I came to dislike intensely because it always turned out to involve something I did not want to do and for the doing of which there were no visible rewards.

About '(it was) a word', is it

(1) the word 'unselfish' only.
(2) the entire 'that children had to learn to be inselfish'

?
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Haven't we seen this before from you?

Only 1 makes sense to me.

They do not say "it was a proverb/saying/precept."
Comments  
'Unselfish' only.
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 Marius Hancu's reply was promoted to an answer.
Good! The same interpretation as mine. Thank you both!
Marius HancuHaven't we seen this before from you?
Yep. The same sentences, a different question.