Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

March 20, 2014

Strengths and Weaknesses

— I will never understand the kind of person who criticizes others for lacking ability in his own area of competency.  

I, for example, never have and never will be able to keep a neat office.  I wish for it, endlessly work at it, intensely admire others who accomplish it with seeming ease, but it is just not my area of gifting.

What I can do well is organize a huge event like a fundraiser, community health fair or weekend retreat, planning everything from beginning to end down to the smallest details. I’m proficient at developing instructional programs and writing curricula.  And I’m a skilled accompanist. So it would make about as much sense for a competent housekeeper to criticize my messy personal space as for me to fault someone who has never taken lessons for not being able to play the piano.

Spelling has always come naturally to me.  Does that mean my assistant’s job security is threatened because she’s not the world’s best speller?  By no means!  She’s our resident genius when it comes to numbers and technology. Rather than regarding her area of weakness with chronic disapproval, I celebrate the strengths she contributes to our team.

What good would it do for a farmer to look down his nose at a city girl because she doesn’t know how to milk a cow?  Why should I reprimand a person who’s never been to Korea for not understanding if I speak to him in Korean?

To focus on people’s weaknesses without acknowledging their strengths, or without at least offering some kind of practical help, is petty and counter-productive. Few situations can be improved by self-satisfied persons simply pointing their fingers and saying, “Shame on you for not being as proficient as I am.”

The mark of a healthy self-esteem is an ability to appreciate others’ strengths and tempering judgment of their weaknesses with mercy.  Everyone is gifted in some way, and everyone has flaws. That is just a given of the human condition. To demand equal competence from every person in every situation is not only unrealistic, but is also arrogant and absurd. In the end, it is much more helpful to build people up than to tear them down.

Speaking of strengths, I can’t find enough superlatives to describe the wonderful gifts and skills our many volunteers contributed to last week’s Garage Sale fundraiser.  Some of them worked very literally from morning till evening every single day. They set things up, organized the various departments, ran the sale and helped clean up when it was over.  I defy any organization in Texas to produce better workers than our own Senior Center participants, board and staff.

We also received help from many other places.  We send our thanks to Sheriff Ira Mercer for letting us borrow some of his trustees to help with heavy lifting during set-up.  We are grateful to Marcia Carpenter, owner of Armor Storage, for loaning us some extra storage space while donations were accumulating.  And we appreciate the announcements that First Financial, Titan and Community National Banks ran for us on their outdoor marquees.

We’d like to express our thanks to these folks who brought breakfast, lunch and snacks for our volunteers every day last week:  Palo Pinto Nursing and Rehab, Comfort Suites, IntegraCare, Serenity Estates, Mineral Wells Nursing & Rehab, Holiday Hills Country Club, Texas Best Donuts, Wise Regional Health System, and Maria Gonzales. Those great meals provided the fuel that kept our workers on their feet!

By no means last or least, we want to thank the Mineral Wells Department of Parks and Recreation for allowing us to use their activity center for the sale. What a blessing it was to have enough space to hold all the donations that came in, for which we are also very grateful.

We appreciate the way this community really stepped up to support us with their contributions and attendance at the event itself.  Thanks to everyone for helping us stay in business!

I feel blessed to serve on a team with the many wonderfully gifted individuals who share their time, energy and talents so selflessly for the good of the Senior Center.  Sure, we all have our flaws, but I hope that our mutual respect and appreciation will enable us to forgive and encourage one another and smooth over conflicts.  That is how we’ll stay strong.