By Steve Goodier
Joseph Henry was an American scientist who served as the first
Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. He used to tell a
rather strange story about his childhood. His grandmother, who
raised him, once paid a cobbler to make him a pair of shoes.
The man measured his feet and told Joseph that he could choose
between two styles: a rounded toe or a square toe. Little Joseph
couldn't decide. It seemed to be such a huge decision; after all,
they would become his only pair of shoes for a long time.
The cobbler allowed him to take a couple of days to make up his
mind. Day after day, Joseph went into the shop, sometimes three
or four times a day! Each time he looked over the cobbler's shoes
and tried to decide. The round-toed shoes were more practical,
but the square toes looked more fashionable. He continued to
procrastinate. He wanted to make up his mind, but he just
Finally, one day he went into the shop and the cobbler handed him
a parcel wrapped in brown paper. His new shoes! He raced home. He
tore off the wrapping and found a beautiful pair of leather shoes
- one with a rounded toe and the other with a square toe.
I can learn a lesson here...a lesson about decisions: if I don't
make decisions myself, others will probably make them for me.
Better that I make them myself.
And if I choose poorly from time to time, that's okay, too. At
least I won't have to wear shoes that don't match. Besides, I'll
probably do better the next time.
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