Plodders Always Win


"I wonder what the Puritans would have been able to do with a word processor?"

This is a regular question from an acquaintance of mine, and it comes from the well-known fact that the Puritans were remarkably productive people.  They lived in the 16th and 17th centuries, a time at which technology was at a minimum, yet almost to a man, they were astoundingly prolific.  Choose a Puritan writer at random, and his complete works will probably take up most of a bookshelf -- all accomplished with just a quill pen. And with a word processor?

The point is that they didn't need one.  They had something better: order and diligence.  Today, we like to run the numbers and find a "solution" for things, and we're very interested in the latest science that proves there's finally a quick remedy to such-and-such an old difficulty.  But the Puritans knew something we've forgotten: one of the only silver bullets you'll ever find is diligence.  They knew the importance of order and routine.  They plodded.  Their progress was slow, but it was an everyday-progress.  They were creatures of habit -- and far from becoming inhuman machines, they produced some of the most creative, insightful studies on mankind, culture, and God.

Segue to education.  If you take a diligent, methodical student in a crummy public school and compare him to an unstructured student in a top-rated classical Christian school, put your bets on the public schooler.  The classical schooler may have bright flashes of occasional brilliance, but without the habits of daily faithfulness in seeing little jobs through to the end, he won't succeed.  The plodders always win.  The tortoise beats the hare.  The quill pens in steady hands outstrip the distracted fingers on a keyboard.

Let's give our kids good, steady, unromantic routine.  Or as Solomon said, "Seest thou a man diligent in his business?  He shall stand before kings" (Prov. 22:29).