I have received a lot of great feedback and comments on last week’s blog about the yard sale and seeing things not for what they are, but what they could be. It made me think of one of my favorite poems that I first heard from Dr. Rob Gilbert and The Success Hotline. (973-743-4690) He has talked about this poem many times. There are a lot of learning points in it, and makes me think often about the work we do as school leaders.
The Touch of the Master’s Hand By Myra Brooks Welch (1921)
Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it sacredly worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile:
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar”; then “Two!” “Only two?
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three…..” But no,
From the back of the room, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose string
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and going,” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
We do not quite understand
What changed its worth.” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of a master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine;
A game–and he travels on.
He is “going once, and “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.
If we can utilize our school buildings staff, programs, and even material items, and make them the best they can be by continuing to put them in positions to succeed, and helping them to shine, imagine what we can achieve.
You’ll never see The Master’s Hand on a job description for a school leader or educator, but I believe this is one of our obligations: Help people, and programs shine, and do good things for others. Helping people to believe in themselves and recognizing talent even when they might not see it themselves is something we should all be looking for each and every day. Continued success to you and I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do. I read it often and thank Dr. Rob Gilbert once again for introducing me to it.
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Quote: “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
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