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I Think I Can
Photo: Keira Bishop
I think I can, I think I can.

My grandfather was born in 1915. Trains were the main mode of transportation. They were big, black iron beasts that had to be fed with coal.

When my parents were born in the ‘40s, trains were going out of fashion. Fast cars and faster planes were the way to go.

When I was born, there were faster jets and microwaves. But with all that technology, my parents still chose to put me to sleep by reading a very old story, “The Little Engine that Could,” first published in 1954 – really old. It’s a simple story about a train that carried toys and dolls and candy over a steep mountain to waiting boys and girls … Chug, chug, puff, puff … Three different engines with different excuses passed up the little train.

“I only pull fine big trains,” one said.

“I only pull important trains,” said another.

“I’m old and tired,” said the third. “I cannot even pull a little train.”

All through elementary school, I wondered when I was going to become the big, shiny important train. But instead, I was the shortest kid in my class and the only boy who hadn’t hit puberty by 8th grade graduation.

Missing the Point

I was missing the point. After 17 years pondering this great classic of American literature, I think I can finally write a book report about “The Little Engine that Could.” I’ve watched classmates and teachers and friends and relatives set their goals on something and by working and planning, see those goals become reality. I’ve seen these same people put all their effort into helping a friend accomplish their goals.

There’s another edition of  “The Little Engine that Could,” titled “The Fast Rolling Little Engine that Could.” I’m not really interested in it, though, because I don’t think you can improve on a classic that encourages you to believe in yourself, to never give up and to keep repeating, “I think I can. I think I can.”

I’m still not very big, or very shiny or very fast, but I’ve found that it’s not how big you are, or how fast you are, but how hard you try and how much you care that makes the difference. And what we do for others doesn’t go unnoticed. “For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians, as you still do” (Hebrews 6:10).

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By Scott Reed. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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