Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we understand and teach the rising generation that every individual has both strengths and weaknesses. We must also understand and teach that weaknesses can be turned into strengths.
One of my favorite scriptures comes from the teachings of an ancient American prophet named Moroni. This scripture has brought both comfort and understanding as needed. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Ether 12:27).
We put great emphasis on our own strengths and the strengths of other people, and we often forget that even our faults can be used to bring beauty into our world. Each of us has our own unique flaws, and our flaws make our lives together both interesting and rewarding. The following story shows that we can help ourselves and each other if we look for the good in each other, even the good that can come from our faults. I have no idea who wrote the story, but I appreciate the moral in it.
“An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
“For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
“After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. `I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.’
“The old woman smiled, `Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’”
When we remember that our flaws are there to keep us humble, we can turn our weaknesses into strengths. Just as the Chinese woman in the story turned the crack in the pot into something good, Heavenly Father can help us turn our weaknesses into great blessings for ourselves and others. We must teach this principle to the rising generation in order for them to know to look for the good in themselves and each other. By doing so, we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations.