The Value of a Small Life

Sometime ago I listened to a podcast interview of Rod Dreher (author of The Benedict Option) where he mentioned the phrase, “The Value of a Small life”. He was referring to his sister who lived practically all her life in a small town as a school teacher.

The phrase resonated with me. I prefer small over big. I read Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful a long time ago, and I remember reading something about giantism being a disease. I’m inclined to agree. One can be too big for one’s own good – like the bullfrog who puffed and puffed until it exploded!

In relation to life and work in general, this means I shouldn’t take on more responsibilities than I can handle. Instead, I should concentrate on the few things I can do very well and which yield the greatest benefit.

It also means curbing one’s ambition to be the biggest, best, and brightest in everything and everywhere. To do one’s work with faithfulness and excellence in the place where God has called you should be enough, even if it is just a small place.

At any rate, small is not only beautiful, it’s also relative. Even a big fish is considered small in a big pond occupied by much bigger fish. But in a small pond, a fish considered small elsewhere turns out be big!

When asked why he chose to practice in his hometown in the province rather than in the nation’s capital, a lawyer friend of mine replied, “I’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.” Good point!

(Photo by Peter Forster on Unsplash)