Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good People

When I was a freshman in high school, I played the trumpet in a couple of the bands (big shocker, I know -- I was a band nerd ...). I remember that our band director, who like so many high school and middle school band directors was slightly crazy (who wouldn't be after teaching high school band for hours each day?), had a poster on the wall in his office that caught my eye. It had a picture of an eagle struggling to fly up to the clouds, but the eagle was being held back by a bunch of turkeys on the ground. Across the top, it had the words "It's hard to soar like an eagle ...", and along the bottom the words "... when you are surrounded by turkeys."

Even though I have seen variations of that statement several times over the years since then (such as the example to the right), that was the first time I had ever come across it. I remember thinking that it was quite clever, and (based on my vast life experience to that point) that it was so true.* However, now that I in fact do have some life experience to draw upon, I have recently concluded that the poster was actually somewhat off base.

The other night I was in a meeting with several individuals with whom I associate through my church. It was getting late and the day had already been long, and yet I was in no hurry for the meeting to end. As I sat there listening to things that were said around the table, I was struck by how amazing these people are. These are good people, who do good things for their families and neighbors and others around them. These are selfless and honorable people who strive to better themselves every day. And although I believe that I fall well short of the high marks these people set in their lives, yet I was grateful to be surrounded by such goodness.

And that is when I remembered the poster from my high school band teacher's office. Only, I realized that the poster needed some alteration before it would truly harmonize with my life experience. In my mind's eye, I recast the poster so that now there were a group of eagles soaring in the clouds, and a lone turkey on the ground watching them as they passed above. The text across the top now read: "It's easy to want to soar ...", and across the bottom: "... when you surround yourself with eagles."

While I may never quite be one of those eagles, I'm thankful that I am surrounded by so many of them (at home, at church, in the community), and that they remind me to keep looking upward.

* Of course, it didn't occur to me then that my band director probably thought that we, his students, were the turkeys.


  1. That was nice, Norm! I like your revised version. And you even got Allyson's approval (of course, a compliment will do that every time!!)

  2. Very motivating.

    I'm glad to see you using metaphors. Have you ever thought about Life Coaching?

  3. If I copy this over to my RS blog and put my name on it - would that be considered plagarism?
    Well said! Though Troy and I are always telling Preston and Tanisha to start being eagles and stop doing the turkey thing. This is the first time I thought of it in reverse.

  4. Norm, you are the wind beneath my wings.

    How about this: It's hard to wail, when you're surrounded by guys who never empty their spit valves.

  5. So... when are you going to do a new post? It has been a while.