I recently used this metaphor with a 4-H youth leadership group. They thought it made simple sense and we had a deep discussion about the 5 things to be a great pencil afterwards.
The pencil maker took the pencil aside, just before putting it into the box.
"There are five things you need to know before I send you out into the world," he said. "Always remember these five things, and you'll be a great pencil.
ONE: You are capable of 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 have the ability to correct the mistakes you make.
FOUR: The most important part of you will always be what's inside.
FIVE: On every surface where you are used, regardless of its condition,
you must leave your mark.
The pencil understood and promised to remember.
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