Do you remember the song John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt? You may have sung it around a campfire or in elementary school. Here are the lyrics just in case you don’t.
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,
His name is my name too.
Whenever we go out,
The people always shout,
There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.
Dah dah dah dah, dah dah dah
If that doesn’t help, I even have a video:
I’m sorry if you have that running through your brain for the next hour. So, what was it about John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt? Why did people always shout his name? Was he a great man?
There are many individuals with “the Great” associated with their name: Alexander III of Macedon (336–323 BC) became Alexander the Great. People called Mohandas Gandhi the Great Soul. Boxer Muhammad Ali had the nickname “the Greatest.” Wayne Gretzky was a hockey player known by the nickname “The Great One.” You also have The Great Gonzo. Okay, the last one doesn’t count since he is a Muppet.
Many people are great because they live dangerously, they live on the edge, or they go for the gusto. You don’t have to have “great” in your name to be great, but you can make a name for yourself by doing great things. Politics aside, Donald Trump has become a great man. To the dismay, or joy of many, he is the next President of the United States. This is no easy feat, especially for a political outsider. The odds were against him and he took a chance. Now he is the leader of the free world.
Do you have it in you to do great things? Of course you do! The power of greatness comes from within. Of course, “with great power comes great responsibility.” What makes you great? Is it your shining personality? There are many ways to be great, but as much as I would like to tell you to throw caution to the wind, make sure what you are doing is the right thing. You don’t want to be known for doing something mean or illegal. You also don’t need to literally live dangerously to be great. You don’t need to live life to the extreme. Even simple things can take courage and determination. If you work hard and aim for success, you can achieve greatness. You can strive to be the best player on a team, get great grades, or be an upstanding citizen in your community.
Sometimes doing nothing can make you great. For example, someone picks a fight with you after school. You stand there facing your opponent, surrounded by most of your classmates. You could easily decide to throw a few punches, but the better decision is to do nothing, walk away. That takes fortitude and confidence, and that makes you great.
Every time you do a good deed, help someone, or simply tell the truth, you are working your way to greatness. These acts are harmless and can even make you feel good. By doing great things you too can make a name for yourself. I can’t guarantee that people will be singing your name in the streets, but it will be a great name indeed.