Chaplain (Col.) Douglas K. Kinder


REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - When Thomas Edison was 7 years old, a school teacher gave him up as a hopeless case. In the boy’s presence, the teacher told an inspector that Edison was “slow” and that it was useless for him to attend school any longer. It is remarkable how frequently great men and women were misjudged in such a fashion before they became famous.

For example, consider what teachers wrote about these particular students:

Abraham Lincoln - “When you consider that Abe has had only four years of school, he is very good with his studies, but he is a daydreamer and asks foolish questions.”

Woodrow Wilson - “Woodrow is a unique member of his class. He is 10 years old and is only just beginning to read and write. He shows signs of improving, but you must not set your sights too high for him.”

Amelia Earhart - “I am very concerned about Amelia. She is bright and full of curiosity, but her interest in bugs and other crawling things and her dare-devil projects are just not fitting for a young lady. Perhaps we could channel her curiosity into a safe hobby.”

The common trait for all of these people was a bed-rock of self confidence. They came to realize early in life that their “critics” were not the determiners of their destinies, but rather, they themselves were. They discovered that they could, with effort, overcome their adversities and prove such negative predictions to be wrong.

We’ve all encountered the pessimists who blame all their troubles on their circumstances: “Nobody could succeed with…,” “… the boss/subordinates I have,” “… the husband/wife I have,” “… the financial problems I have.” The variations are endless. What they are actually saying is that the universe is stacked against them and they are powerless to change their world. They have convinced themselves that they will fail and will probably end up being self-fulfilling prophets.

The Bible has some wise counsel for us.

Solomon, referring to attitudes said, “For as a man thinks himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7) The Apostle Paul tells us referring to thoughts, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, let your minds dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

What kind of performance would your car deliver if every morning before you left for work you scooped up a handful of dirt and put it in your gas tank? The finely-tuned engine would soon be coughing and sputtering. Ultimately, it would refuse to start. The same is true of your life. Thoughts about yourself and attitudes toward others that are narrow, destructive and abrasive produce wear and tear on your mental motor.

So today, I’d like to encourage you, if pessimism has gotten the best of you, change your thought patterns and turn your day around.

Page last updated Mon July 11th, 2011 at 12:12