I always start to get a little reflective in December, partly because it’s the last month of the year, but partly because I’m trying to think of gifts for friends and family. Lots of times when I think about what gift I’d like to give someone, it brings to mind ways that person has impacted my life.
A few weeks ago at church my pastor read this poem by John Greenleaf Whittier called “Don’t Quit.” I’m pretty sure I had to read this poem way back when I was studying to become an English teacher, but I didn’t remember it.
It really stuck with me this time, though, because the words of this poem reminded me of so many people around me.
- The phenomenal teacher down the hall who never, ever gives up on the kids that are the hardest to reach
- The inspirational fitness instructor or trainer who encourages you to keep pushing, keep pushing, keep going….until you make it
- The positive, hardworking student in my 5th hour class who against all odds will be the first person in her entire family history to graduate from high school
- The talented student teacher working with me this semester who has so much potential, skills, and heart but, but who is statistically likely to leave the teaching profession within her first 5 years
- My mom, who is tirelessly working with my grandpa to ease his transition into a new situation
- My dad, who has worked hard his entire life and always encourages others to do their best
- My son who’s not the best by a long shot at his favorite sport, but who works hard every single practice — and outside of practice — to get better
I could keep going, but I’m sure you also have your own list of people who exemplify perseverance and determination, or even those who could use these words of encouragement.
Today I decided to make a pretty version of this poem (the image in this post) and give it to some of these people who, for me, represent Whittier’s words.
Feel free to right-click the poem and share it with people around you who inspire you — or who need to hear this message and believe it.
Or maybe this poem’s message is one YOU needed to hear today. If so, I’m talking to you right now, friend:
DON’T YOU QUIT.