Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Arrow and the Bow

Years ago, a wise book I was reading suggested that we need both an arrow and a bow in our lives: we need to be sharp and piercing like the arrow, but we also need the gentleness and smoothness symbolized by the bow. We need to be strong, but also tender – incisive but also patient. The arrows of our thoughts and words can pierce to the heart of things only if launched by the supple bow of gentleness and openness. This, of course, is true in teaching. I have to be somewhat like a warrior when I’m with my scholars, a brave leader who’s not afraid to launch arrows of praise, guidance, or reproof – not afraid to pierce when things need piercing. However, the arrows will float feebly to the ground unless launched by the potent force of kindness and consideration. Firmness without the power of gentleness behind it is no power at all.

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