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Tony Brooks: The Parable of the Pencil

Posted: 11/11/18 at 8:00am. Post by Tony Brooks.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to go to Quantico along with our team to learn more about leadership. On this trip our lessons were from a retired Colonel Joseph Shusko in the United States Marine Corps.

He was instrumental in changing the training for US Marines and martial arts at Raider Hall and around the world as he included training in body, mind, and spirit.

I was expecting discipline, toughness, and responsibility as part of the training but was surprised by his idea of mentorship and helping others. Part of the training includes what he calls “tie-ins,” which are moral parables to help these men and women build character.

Thankfully one of our colleagues bought each of us a copy of his book: Tie-Ins for Life: Stories that Teach Great Values and Inspire Moral Action.

Here is one of those stories:

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box.

“There are five things you need to know,” he told the pencil, “before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be.”

“One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone’s hand.”

“Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you’ll need it to become a better pencil.”

“Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.”

“Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s inside.”

“And Five: On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.”

The pencil understood and promised to remember and went into the box with purpose in its heart.

Now replace the place of the pencil with yourself.  Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best person you can be.

One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in God’s hand. And allow other human beings to access you for the many gifts you possess.

Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems in life, but you’ll need it to become a stronger person.

Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.

Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s on the inside.

And Five: On every surface you walk through, you must leave your mark. No matter what the situation, you must continue to do your duties.

As a teacher, allow this parable of the pencil to encourage you to know that you are a special person and only you can fulfill the purpose to which you were born to accomplish.

Never allow yourself to get discouraged enough to think that your life is insignificant and cannot make a change.

Brooks-TonyTony Brooks is our Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist and Field Strategist for the Southside Region. You may email him at tony.brooks@bgav.org. Follow Tony on Twitter: @TonyBrooks7