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The Story of The Pencil

An inspirational short story taken from Paulo Coelho’s book on short stories and reflections ‘Like the Flowing River’

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point, he asked: “Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?”

His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson: “I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.”

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special. “But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!”

His grandmother said, “That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on to them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.

“First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.

“Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

“Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.

“Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.

“Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: It always leaves a mark. In just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action.”

…hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to pass it on!

Written by Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC

Ellen M. Dumer, LCPC, is president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a trusted expert in the field of transformational living and life success coaching. She is a guide and mentor for women seeking to harness and cultivate their personal and public leadership aspirations. Using her background as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, her continuing training in transformational co-active coaching with Mentor Coach, and her Master’s Degree at Loyola University in Maryland in the blending of spirituality and psychology, Ellen has developed a program that is both comprehensive and uniquely tailored to cultivate the best in each of her clients, one that encompasses spirit, body and mind.