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of RED RIVER VALLEY
|Sept 2006 Character Quality -- Diligence
|The following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
The phone rang for the second time, and Jack rolled over to answer it. As he caught sight of
the clock, he mumbled, “Who is calling at 3 a.m. – hello?” he answered groggily. “Jack, we need
you at the south fork. We’ve got two cows about to calve and neither one looks too good,” his
brother’s urgent voice crackled through the phone. Jack shook the sleep out of his eyes, took a
deep breath, and then said, “I’ll be there as soon as I can.” He heard a sigh of relief as his
brother said, “I knew I could count on you. Thanks.” Five hours later, the brothers finished
birthing the calves and completed the morning chores. Extraordinary? Not at all. It is only a
typical day on the ranch of one who understands the importance of diligence.
Diligence is investing my time and energy to complete each task assigned to me. The person,
who completely gives himself over to his work, as Solomon said, will stand before kings – not
unknown men. Diligence is not hastiness. Most of the time, it is slow, methodical work. Being a
diligent person requires endurance to succeed.
To be diligent, we must have a desire to achieve the goal. First, we must understand what is
expected of us and prepare our ‘battle plans’ accordingly. Sometimes, the enormity of a
situation can deter us, but once we start on a project, we will build the needed confidence to go
on. Next, we need to consolidate our ideas, prioritize our decisions, and focus our energy on
the task. Any job worth doing is worth doing well. This age-old maxim still holds true today. The
quality of work reflects its creator. After we complete a job it is wise to evaluate how we did –
how was it most productive, and how can we make it more productive in the future?
Diligence is not busyness. Every day, we fill our days up with ‘busy’ things. However, diligence
is tackling the priorities – the things that we need to do. For centuries, the ants have been a
symbol of diligence. They are constantly busy, yet they fill their days with the important issues
such as storing away enough food for winter. John Wanamaker says it this way: “Learn to tell
the difference between activity and work.”
When a diligent person finally ‘reaches the finish line,’ he possesses a sense of accomplishment
that transcends anything that money can buy. He has unknowingly built confidence and self-
respect that will encourage him to continue. The hand of the diligent shall rule, it makes one
rich, and it reaps manifold benefits.
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! materials. For more information about the Character First!
program and resources contact: Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, (405) 815-0001.
Visit the Character Council of Red River Valley at www.character-paris.org.