The Carol of the Drum was composed by Katherine Kennicott Davis 1941. Forty years later, I sang this song, now called Little Drummer Boy, in grade school. Forty more years later, this song is heard on satellite radio between remixes of Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells. With apologies to my elementary school, the best version I’ve heard was performed on stage in Phoenix by the band for KING & COUNTRY.
Of course, the band preserves Davis’ intent by implying the drummer is young, humble, and poor, but their version assures us that having only a drum is absolutely nothing of which to be ashamed. (Confession: I listened to this version on a loop as I wrote this article– best earworm ever!!)
Here’s what the drummer boy teaches us:
- Young? Own Your Age: Age has nothing to do with value or impact. We also know age can’t be modified (though we try). We know experience and maturity can be developed over time (thankfully). At this very moment, we, and all those around us, are exactly how old we are supposed to be! If the drummer boy had been ashamed of his age or allowed others to discourage him based on his age, who would have played for the King?
- Humble? Move to the Front: The ongoing challenge with humility is being extremely confident without being pretentious. Moving forward often requires courage before certainty, meaning we don’t get to know for sure we can do something without taking a risk! If the drummer boy hadn’t taken his place in the front, who would have played for the King?
- Poor? Give All You Have: We all have gifts that fit like puzzle pieces into the needs of all around us. Each fit into a special place and the whole is incomplete without our individual contribution! The funny thing about gifts is they seem so natural, we fail to see how unique and essential they are to those around us! If the drummer boy had not brought all that he had, who would have played for the King?
The song, Little Drummer Boy, has been performed many times in many different ways, but the moral of its story is still the same: own your age, move to the front, and give all you have. If the drummer boy hadn’t, he would have never seen the King smile.
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum
Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum
~ Little Drummer Boy (Live), for KING & COUNTRY (via YouTube)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.