Life Is A Lot Like A Pencil

by Ron Haynes

I heard a parable of sorts a few days ago, relating our lives to that of a pencil. It was another poignant reminder that ANYTHING can teach us a lesson if we’re teachable, even things like a cookie jar or a straight road.

pencil The parable went like this: A pencil maker was diligently plying his skills, making the highest quality pencils he could from the graphite, cedar trees, paint, erasers, and ferrules he had purchased from various suppliers. One night he dreamed that his pencils were talking to each other. One was complaining that they were just lowly, cheap, bits of wood and earth. The pencil maker thought otherwise and reminded them all that:

1. Wherever they went, they would leave a mark

We too, leave our mark everywhere we go. Even when we think we have had no impact at all, we still do. We can encourage, lift up, and strengthen others, or we can quietly ignore them and go on about our business. Either way, you leave a mark.

2. What’s inside is what counts

The graphite inside a pencil can still be used without being shaped into that long thin form we recognize as pencil lead. People have used it for thousands of years, drawing on everything from cave walls to canvas. What’s inside the pencil is what gives it worth.

3. Almost all mistakes can be corrected

Much like the eraser on a pencil, we can also correct most of our mistakes. Don’t ever think that things won’t get better, that a damaged relationship can’t be restored, or that you’re doomed to a life of [fill in the blank]. You and I are resilient. We can correct our mistakes and start all over again.

4. Sharpening is painful, but it makes them better

A dull pencil loses its effectiveness, much the same way that a dull person does. Once sharpened, a pencil is better able to communicate. It’s more effective because it gets used. Have you ever had a pencil that had never been sharpened and nothing to sharpen it with? That pencil is like a person who never goes through any trials, has everything handed to him, and has no connection with the realities of life.

The Bible states it this way:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:3-4 NIV

Life lessons can come from the simplest of places.

What other lessons could we learn?

Photo by isox4

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 988 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.