Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
This morning I read for the second time an article clipped from the Wall Street Journal and given to me by a friend, who serves on our Jenner’s Pond library book selection committee. She noted, “thought of you when I read this.” It was a review titled, Where Earth and Water Parted authored by Gerald Helderich in reference to Aaron Hirsh’s new book, Telling Our Way To The Sea.
Describing Hirsh’s pictorial writing of his personal explorations of the Sea of Cortez and information from John Steinbeck Sea of Cortez adventures, Helderich makes a perfect pitch for persons to read Telling Our Way To The Sea.
I was grateful for my Jenner’s Pond friend cutting out and giving me this book review not only because I have taken people sailing on The Sea of Cortez but because it reminded me of an important practice of giving credence to those who have gone before us in creative ways.
In this review the author makes use of Hirsh’s reference to Steinbeck before him. It helps me as an author to remember and practice this in creative ways not only because Hirsh does this in his book but because memorable practitioners including John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham and Jesus, called The Christ, have done so. However, as far as we know, Jesus did not write it down, just filed it in his memory, and pulled it out and used it whenever applicable by mentioning the laws and prophecies before him, whenever and wherever it helped give credence and persuasion to his presentation. He noted that he was then not only able to fulfill the law and the prophets but expand and enlarge interest and engagement of the people with whom he was talking in their own vernacular. Our memorable great presidents did the same thing. John Kennedy reminded the American people “to not ask what their country could do for them but what they could do for their country”, a saying that had originated many years before in ancient Greece.
It’s a practice, my friend reminded me of by reading the article a second time which my friend gave to me with her note. She helped me to practice my own deliveries in talking and writing as an author by including the gifts of those who have ventured before me in their exploration, understanding and projection of the subjects I wish to talk and write about. Thanks to my friend, Mary Jane Hofmann for her note.
Another way of looking at this wrinkle which needs to be ironed out whenever talking or writing is what Robert Schuller once said at a Successful Church Leadership Conference in reference to speaking and writing, “give credit to those from whom you received the information or idea”. Claiming credit for something we’re said or written by not giving credit to those from whom we’ve received it, is called plagiarism. The truth of the matter is that most of us have few if any completely new ideas or understandings. We simply continue to learn from others mistakes and successes as well as our own and we build on them. It gives us and whatever or whoever we’re talking or writing about give credit where credit is due.
I’m humbled to be reminded that my thoughts and feelings have probably been thought and felt long before I ever experienced them. This prompts me to creatively express them in significantly new and meaningful life changing ways of our own time and place in practical vernacular of our listeners and readers today. Give credit where credit is due, sticks in my mind and hopefully my writing.
Thanks for coincidentally reminding me to give credit where credit is due dear Jenner’s Pond friend.