Saturday, April 2, 2022

Using all your strength

  A young boy was walking with his father along a country road. When they came across a very large tree branch the boy asked, “Do you think I could move that branch?”

  His father answered, “If you use all your strength, I’m sure you can.”

  So the boy tried mightily to lift, pull, and push the branch, but he couldn’t move it. Discouraged he said, “Dad, you were wrong. I can’t do it.”

  His dad said, “Try again.” This time, as the boy struggled with the branch his father joined him and together they pushed the branch aside.

  “Son,” the father said, “the first time you didn’t use all your strength. You didn’t ask me to help.”

  This is an important lesson. There are many things we can’t do alone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get them done. We all are surrounded by resources that can be mobilized to help us achieve our goals including family, friends, and faith. Sometimes we fail to ask for help because of pride or stubbornness. Sometimes we think it’s a sign of weakness to admit we need a hand. And sometimes we don’t even think about asking for help. Whatever the reason, it’s a waste.

  It’s important that we learn to use all our strength; this includes inner resources such as discipline, courage, and even love. But it also includes outer resources. Just as we should be willing to help others, we should be willing to ask the help of others. It’s one of the great things about being human.

  The story is derived from a story told by David Wolpe in Teaching Your Children About God (Harper Perennial, 1995).

  Editor's note: This article first appeared in the Capital City Free Press on July 16, 2015.

  About the author: Michael Josephson is one of the nation’s most sought-after and quoted ethicists. Founder and president of Josephson Institute and its CHARACTER COUNTS! project, he has conducted programs for more than 100,000 leaders in government, business, education, sports, law enforcement, journalism, law, and the military. Josephson is also an award-winning radio commentator.

  This article was published by the Josephson Institute.

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