The old coffee mug that now holds my pens and pencils has been on my various desks for nearly 58 years. The mug has been broken and glued back together numerous times. It was a gift from Air Force Chaplain Samuel Powell with whom I worked many years ago in Crete, Greece. Chaplain Powell thought I was bending over backwards to help everyone and anyone who came into the office. My response to those who came with question, problem, or concern, was always “no problem!” Chaplain Powell would remind me from time to time, that there might very well be a question, a problem, or a concern that I could not answer, solve or resolve. (I didn’t believe him in those early years—but I understand what he was trying to tell me now). A “No problem, Hal” (a good-natured guy), without discernment, Chaplain Powell said, can become vulnerable to being used and abused.
Well, the mug has certainly been abused as is evident in the photo below. Is it true? “If you are good-natured people will step all over you.”
I often define the meaning of a word or term by using its synonyms. A good-natured person is affable, agreeable, amiable, genial, good-tempered, gracious, mellow, pleasant, and nice. Antonyms for “good-natured” include words like disagreeable, ill-natured, ill-tempered, and unpleasant.
A good-natured person can also be a person of discernment, that is, a person of perception, insight, and wisdom, which is what Chaplain Powell was suggesting I add to my “no problem” mentality and personality. The much-abused coffee mug on my desk for nearly 58 years still reminds me of Chaplain Powell’s advice. I’m not sure I have become a person of discernment, but at least the cup has reminded me through the years that I ought to be a discerning person.