Excerpt from Chapter Six,
Confidence and Cents
Copyright 2004, Rev 2005, All Rights Reserved
"Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds you
down or polishes you up, it is up to you"
We used to have a grindstone at our house. It
had a large grinding wheel that was operated
by pedals as one sat on the seat. As smaller
children we sometimes thought of it as a play
toy. With nothing to grind, we would sit there
and pedal away. That was kids' stuff, and in
such revelry there was no thought of it having
anything to do with life.
If Dad wanted to sharpen the ax or hand sickle,
we often would volunteer to do the pedaling.
Never did we think that Dad's thoughts were in
the grown-up world while ours were in play
land. When we were just a little older and big
enough to swing the ax, then we began to know
the importance of the grinding.
|Also, we learned that there was a right way and a wrong way to hold the tool that was to be
sharpened. Not understanding that, we were most likely to grind down the tool rather than
polish it up and put a keen edge on it.
While Mom didn't do the sharpening, she came to know the meaning of letting the grindstone
do its best thing for her. She learned that life is a grindstone, and remembering experiences
of childhood and youth, she
resolved that it would polish her up and not grind her down.
My mother, Fleda Helen, was another of the multitude of coal miners' daughters. Who knows,
she might have made the charts. She could sing as well as the celebrity. But in our family's
book, she did make our charts, and her songs still reverberate in our minds......
Both Dad's and Mom's life, birth to death, are surrounded before and after with relevant
issues about mental illness and health.
Since this book has the theme of mental health, it is hoped that her life is a testimony that
emotional health can be enhanced in difficult circumstances. Whatever leadership role we
play, it is important to understand how critical early training is as a foundation for an effective
life. It is likewise crucial that we have acceptable and meaningful goals which we pursue with
Further, her life suggests to us that we learn how to handle setbacks gracefully and with
renewed determination to begin again. Another component for mental health is having a
cause in which you wholeheartedly believe and for which you will give your life. Mom's story
illustrates all of these.
(The details await your reading)