Laziest Boy

Heber J. Grant, seventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

(Thud)

It was the sound of a baseball being thrown at the side of a barn. The nearby cows ignoring the noise they had grown accustomed to hearing. Heber Grant walked over to the ball and picked it up, went back to his place 30 feet from the barn and threw the ball again.

(Thud)

This would continue for a long time each day. Neighbors in the Utah settlement started to talk about young Heber being “the laziest boy” in the neighborhood. He had a goal to play on a championship baseball team. The other boys made fun of his awkwardness in baseball, so it was highly unlikely that he would make any baseball team.

(Thud)

This ball showed a little about the young boy that disproved the lazy moniker. His father died only nine days after he was born, and his mom refused to live off of other people or her church. She took on borders and sewed, though, they rarely had two pennies to rub together. So when Heber wanted to get better at baseball, he had to figure out a way to get a baseball to practice with. So he would shine the shoes of the borders until he saved a dollar and could buy a baseball.

(Thud)

Heber would eventually get really good at throwing and catching. He played on the team that won the Utah Territory Championship.

The early 1860’s wasn’t the only time he set his mind to achieving a goal. He was often told he had terrible handwriting. His friends’ remarks spurred him to make a diligent effort to improve his handwriting. He set a goal to become the best writer in the territory. So he practiced in his spare time for years. He taught penmanship and bookkeeping at the University of Deseret – later named the University of Utah. He also won a penmanship contest at the territory fair.

Heber also couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. He just wasn’t gifted musically, at least that’s what he was told. When he was 10 years old, his music teacher told him he would never be able to sing. For years, he practiced two songs he loved. For a long time, it didn’t seem to make any difference. Even close associates made jokes about how bad his singing was.

When he was 43, he met his music teacher from when he was 10 at a social gathering. When Heber told him he had learned to sing, the teacher replied that he didn’t believe it. So Heber pulled him to a corner and sang one of the songs he had practiced more than 5,000 times over the 33 years since he had last sung for him. The teacher was amazed and asked Heber to sing with the choir he was conducting. Heber said that learning to sing was one of his personal greatest accomplishments.

Heber Grant was a leader and a loving father. He encouraged people all over the world to do their best in all they tried to accomplish. He served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for many years, holding leadership positions during World War I, The Great Depression, and World War II. He personally helped hundreds of individuals – many widows and orphans – in need, encouraging them to keep going and keep trying. It worked for him.

For you:

Singing and playing sports may not be talents you want to develop, but is there a skill that you need to achieve your goal? Maybe you aren’t particularly organized but you want to start a business. You will need to keep good records and be organized. Does that mean you need to give up on your goal? No!

You need to identify the skills you need and then work on them. There are a bunch of resources, free and paid, that will help you learn new skills. Set aside the time to work on the skill.

I struggled with reading when I was younger. My parents set aside time each day to read the scriptures. It took time – and patience on their part – but eventually, I was able to read above my grade level. I’m still not the fastest reader, but I can read complex sentences and understand them.

Identify one skill you need to obtain in order to reach your goal. Now figure out one way you can learn that skill. Then, set aside time and practice.

About

I started writing short stories in elementary school, starting with a short story about twin track athletes. In college, I wrote for the college newspaper and studied communications. My first job out of college was with a magazine as an assistant editor, where I started a comic strip called City Boy.

My first published work, was a short essay entitled, Dream with Me, published in “The Art of Service” booklet put out by the Thayne Center for Service and Learning. I also published a three part series for families called “Family Parables – Wise Man Foolish Man.” This set is designed to be used by families to create discussion and learning as a family. I soon will publish my first novel, Love Like Alzheimer’s, a story of a family that is learning to love deeper as their beloved grandmother struggles with Alzheimer’s disease.

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