My own thoughts on that little quote.

So yesterday I got this quotation in an e-mail from our district superintendent. He’s good at finding quotes. I immediately put it out there for you, because it gave me pause, but I needed to PAUSE to think before I wrote.

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.” –Henry Van Dyke

My thoughts ran and ran. It has so many applications, and three of you have already added your own thoughts.

My mind immediately went to all of the kids that I teach. We certainly want them to reach their potential. For some of them, that potential is an auto mechanic, or a checker at Wal-Mart, or a nurse, or a trash collector, or a semi truck driver, or a lawyer. It’s different for every kid, but our society tends to measure success by how high ranking our profession is, not by how successfully we’ve used our talents and how happily and completely we live our lives.

I also thought of the people (read *I* in here) who don’t try something they CAN do because they might not be THE BEST at it. We always want to strive for excellence, but the problem comes when we begin comparing OUR degree of excellence to someone else’s degree of excellence.

Every day our principal does the announcements, leads the pledge(s), and directs the moment of silence. After all of that is done, every single day, she says, “Be the best that you can be.” Not “Be the best,” but “Be the best that YOU can be.”

Each of us have our own best, and when we get discouraged that our best isn’t “good enough,” we must remember that Jesus is our standard, those we love and respect are our examples, those who love and support us are our inspiration, but we are the only ones to whom we can compare ourselves.


6 thoughts on “My own thoughts on that little quote.

  1. Amen. We were just talking about this with our daughter. I try to tell her that every one has gifts God gave them. They are to use them for His Glory. Every person’s gift is important to Him and to the world. The best garbage collector is better than the worst doctor. Thanks for sharing the quote!

  2. I love your comments/ thoughts here. I also love what Linda wrote in the previous comment — I write, not because there is a shortage of writing, but because it’s what the Lord has put on my heart to do. I’m not the best — I can read, I can see that — but I throw it out there and the Lord can use it as He wills. “My power is made perfect in your weakness,” (2 Cor. 12:9) Well, hallelujah, and don’t I have plenty o’ weakness with which to show His glorious power.

    And, about your kids, one teacher’s husband says: The world needs minimum wage workers to be educated, as well. It’s true!

  3. Your words. They speak perfectly to the creative realm of ourselves. We are made to be creative and part of the balance in achieving our own personal best is recognizing and embracing our own personal best. Just like you wrote: “We always want to strive for excellence, but the problem comes when we begin comparing OUR degree of excellence to someone else’s degree of excellence.” And “…but we are the only ones to whom we can compare ourselves.”

    Realizing that we can “transcend” our own personal good and better is fantastically empowering.

  4. That’s so, so, so true! Faulkner is my personal nemesis. I’ve spent years at a time doing nothing because I couldn’t do it as well as he could. But God has a way of getting us over ourselves and changing us into faithful stewards of the gifts he gives us, whatever they are. He’s way more concerned that we actually use it than that we use it as well as someone else.

  5. Stephanie

    I keep thinking about this quote. Somehow it wiggles into my thoughts and takes on new meaning… tentacles of meaning reaching even under my kitchen sink to the box of Great Value dishwashing soap.

Tell me what ya think.

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