Recently I came across a eulogy written by Rabbi Sylvan Kamens that included the following:
The rabbis have a parable in which they tell of a conference among the trees, and of the decision of the trees to select a king who would rule over them. They sent a delegation to a shade tree, which bore no fruit.
The delegation inquired: "Why do you make so much noise when the wind blows?" The tree replied, "The only way that I will be noticed is by making a lot of noise."
Then they turned to a fruit-bearing tree and asked it: "Tell us, why are you so quiet? Why do you not let yourself be known? Even when the wind blows through your branches you are silent."
And the fruit-bearing tree answered: "I do not need to make a lot of noise to call attention to myself. My fruits testify for me."
In this fable, the rabbis were telling us that there are two types of people. There are people who make a lot of noise, who demand recognition and honor because otherwise they fear that they would have very little to recommend them.
And there is also another type: there are people who are quiet, modest and yet as full of kindness and caring for others that they need not clamor to call attention to themselves.
The questions posed by this story is stark and powerful. Which kind of person do you want to be? How close are you to being that person?