In his autobiography, Aaron Smith took care to emphasize the ways that his family nurtured the philosophies that would shape his life into one of accomplishment and appreciation for life’s difficulties as well as comforts. He took lessons from home and applied them wherever he was considered to be "different."

"Naturally, I've been somewhat sensitive about having no arms. But I've found out that the same people who stare rudely at me would do something else as rude if I were the same as other people," he said.

"I used to have a big cigar box filled with marbles I won from [boys in Queen City, Texas] playing keeps," Smith told one newspaper. "Looking back at it, those marble games were the biggest things in my life. It showed me that being different from the other boys wasn't such a tremendous handicap as being born without arms would first seem to be. Then I took up croquet. I could hold the mallet handle between my toes close up to the head and by steadying the end on my left heel I could make the same shots the others could with their hands. I play the game of life just as those Queen City boys and I played marbles and croquet. And people with two hands can't get any more out of living than that."

"My only regret of an entire lifetime is that as I look back over the years, one by one, I see so little of lasting worth in what I have accomplished," Smith wrote near the end of his life. He looked with grace on those who looked down on him and with modesty at those who made much of him. The world would be a better place if more people emulated Smith's healthy balance of drive and humility.