The Pencil

the pencil parable

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box.

“There are 5 things you need to know,” he told the pencil, “Before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be.”

“One…you will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone’s hand.”

“Two…you will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you’ll need it to become a better pencil.”

“Three…you will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.”

“Four…on every surface you are used, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.”

“And five…the most important part of you will always be what’s inside.”

The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in its heart.

Executives’ Club core value #5:

Live Intentionally.

Purpose. Fulfillment. Significance. Conviction. Executives’ Club Members chart a path that will impact the lives of others and make a difference in our communities. We love what we do, but understand that our jobs don’t define us as individuals. Through commitment and discipline to our first four core values, we set a course to the fifth.

Our Core Values

Be upfront. Get to know each other. Learn by teaching. Create big moment. Live intentionally.

I, Pencil

By Leonard E. Read, 1958

I am a lead pencil—the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.

Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.

You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery —more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background.


During its lifespan, a pencil can draw a line 35 miles long and write around 45,000 words 

On average, 14 billion pencils are produced in the world annually, enough to circle the earth more than 60 times

Author John Steinbeck used more than 300 pencils to write his hit novel, “East of Eden” in 1952.

The pencil had been in use since the 16th century, after the discovery of a major graphite deposit in Grey Knotts, a town in Cumbria, England. Thin brushes replaced the metal stylus used to scratch markings on papyrus, palm leaf and wax tablets. These thin brushes were called “pincel,” an Old French term for the small paintbrush, which came from the Latin term, “penicillus” or little tail, a fine brush with camel hair. With the discovery of graphite, which turned out to be a good writing tool for creating markings, including sheep, it eventually replaced the artist’s brush as the preferred writing instrument. from The Ubiquitous Pencil