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CHARACTER COUNCIL
of RED RIVER VALLEY
Feb 2006 Character Quality -- Resourcefulness
The following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
     “I don’t know what to do with this old sweater – it’s got a tear in it and that’s no good.” a lady
once told her neighbor over a cup of tea.  “If you don’t want it…I would be happy to take it off
your hands,” the neighbor responded.  That very afternoon, the sensible woman patched the
small hole, added a few extra touches, and presented it to her young daughter.  The sweater
was as good as new, and it was all because she took something that normally would have been
discarded and transformed it into something useful and beautiful.

     Resourcefulness is finding practical uses for that which others would overlook or discard.  It
is using the things we have on hand to accomplish what we need for less trouble, time, or money
than we normally would use. Our first step is to recognize what we have.  Even though someone
may not have a good financial situation, he may discover that he has family, a good reputation,
friends, talents and faith.  All of these far exceed any monetary value.  Start with what you have
and then you can build on it.  Prioritize your schedule so that you do not spend time or money
on unnecessary items.  Discover new ways to make what you have function more efficiently.  
Computers, for instance, have several shortcut-keys to cut down time.  However, most people
rarely ever use them or know about them.  After you experience the benefits from your
efficiency, let others know about them so they too can achieve the same results – and perhaps
you can gain additional information.

     Resourcefulness is so important in every day life.  First, it improves credibility with other co-
workers or employers.  It successfully reduces waste, thereby eliminating the number one cause
of disorder and frustration – clutter.  By altering something that once was useless, you add
value to that object – creating a new product from a byproduct.  Finally, resourcefulness helps
and protects the environment.  A good example of this is the HOV lanes in large cities; reserved
for passengers who carpool.  As a result, especially during a hectic time, those who travel on
them make better time to their destination.  

     Resourcefulness, however, is not pack-ratting or “penny – pinching.”  It is not hoarding
money or other resources, but it is managing them in a smart way so as to meet present needs.
It must be balanced with such things as wisdom and decisiveness as well as generosity.  Look
beyond your current circumstances and understand what the outcome will be in the long run.  
Try to put resources to the best use.  Realize that the more you have, the more you can help
others.  

     Edgar Watson Howe said, “The real tragedy of life is not being limited to one talent, but in
failing to use that one talent.”  We may only have one talent so let us use it in the best, possible
way.  Resourcefulness is finding the assets that God has already provided.
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! materials.  For more information about the
Character First! program and resources contact:  Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma
City, OK  73102,  (405) 815-0001. Visit the Character Council of Red River Valley at
www.character-paris.org.
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