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JeffersonA DECALOGUE of canons for observation in practical life:

1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.

2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.

3. Never spend your money before you have it

4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap: it will be dear to you.

5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.

6. We never repent of having eaten too little.

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.

9. Take things always by their smooth handle.

10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.

Jefferson, Thomas 

When we think of lists and country founders Ben Franklin most often comes to mind. So when I came across this list from Thomas Jefferson it got my attention.

Source Blog:  Twenty-something « Cristian Mihai.

CristianI believe that young, inexperienced writers set out to write the words they think the world desires to read. The words the world needs. When they gain a bit of experience, they set out to write the words they desire to read. And that’s a pretty big difference.

I’m not sure this applies to me now, but when I was younger, I wanted to use all my ideas and characters and put them into a single story. I thought that’s how masterpieces are made.

With experience you realize how precious ideas are. You store them. You also realize that in order to write a story you need just one idea.

Some write as if the world is going to end tomorrow, and some as if the world is never going to end.

I enjoy reading blogs of those who are looking at the front end of life instead of the back end. Many of my regular blog views are about those in retirement. Of course that is  natural for me since that is where  I am. But it is enticing and reflective to see how a twenty-two year old views life on his blog.  I must say that for the most part he is more optimistic about the future than I am. No big surprise there; that has been going on for probably centuries.

I have Christian Mihai’s blog on the right side of mine. I know I might get more hits if my blogroll were much larger. I do read at least a dozen blog postings a day. But for whatever reasons I choose to only put those blogs that inspire me in one fashion or another.  Christian is one of those types of blog.  I am fascinated that some of his posts are filled with too much wisdom for someone so young.  The above is one of those posts.

I admit that I don’t know very much about Romania where he lives and I don’t know much about his life. Maybe that is one of the reasons a twenty-two year old can inspire me. Don’t get me wrong here, many of his posts are typical of someone that age. That should not be surprising as twenty-two years olds are really pretty typical across the world. They all struggle in one sense or another with becoming adults. They are all naive in their own ways. It is obvious that Christian wants to become a famous writer some day and I will not be surprised when he actually accomplishes that goal.

Closing out this post as it began, I enjoy reading words from those who are at the opposite end of life’s spectrum than I am. It keeps me young at least in a minimal sense. I can relate to so much this young man is going through in his life. I too was somewhat a moody young person dreaming about the future. I could give Christian some words of advice but somehow I kind of think he needs to discover things on his own…..

Removing Obstacles…..

February 24, 2013
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The abundant life does not come to those who have had a lot of obstacles removed from their path by others. It develops from within and is rooted in strong mental and moral fiber.  — William Mather Lewis

All of us want to have an abundant life. That is we want our life to be full and meaningful. We want to make at least a slight difference because we were here. I believe that the quote above is at the root of making that possible.  Although I am not a parent I’m sure that all parents out there want their children to have an abundant life. But as the quote insinuates it does not come from having all the obstacles removed from our paths.

Obstacles and corresponding adversity is what builds character. When you are given life with the proverbial “silver spoon” you develop a very shallow sense of reality. Many of the upper echelons of our society like to chant about the “entitlements” that our country provides to those on the other end of the economic scale. They claim that giving someone something they haven’t earned just drives them to expect more. There is certainly some validity in that argument but what they seem blind to is that many of the elite are doing the same thing with their children. When they remove all the obstacles from their children’s path they are leading them into an “entitlement” mentality.  We can look back at history to see how this played out in the royal families of Europe. History shows us that many of the “entitled” kings had lost all sense of reality of how their subjects lived.

Most of the great people in society grew up with adversity and obstacles in their paths. It is what made them strong. We should not deny our children or future generations by removing all their obstacles in life.

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FranklinRemember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. ~ Ben Franklin

I have read several books about Ben Franklin. He is certainly a fascinating character  but he is generally not one of my favorite founding fathers. He led a pretty pretentious life and was probably one of the original “dirty old men” ;)  But his words above do inspire me. More importantly they help me keep my mouth shut on occasion. On this blog, and in life in general, I seek just the right words to say something, especially something I am passionate about. I often look to say the right thing in the right place.

But in the spur of the moment I often say things that are maybe best left unsaid. Given what I have read about Franklin, he also didn’t do a very good job of taking his own advice. I admit that one of my worst traits is to speak before I think. Maybe that is why I love blogging so much. It allows me to temper my words before they become public and believe it or not most of my posts are tempered.

It seems that many in public life also need to learn this lesson of leaving some things unsaid. I just watched a little of the grilling of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  before a Senate committee about the embassy attack of last September that resulted in four deaths.  I was amazed how well she kept her cool during the vitriol words  from Senators McCain and Paul. Criticism is one thing that has its place but when it is done for primarily political  or self-seeking purposes it degrades the speaker.

And then of course there are the marital spats that all of us have from time to time. (I’m not the only one who has them am I?).  In the heat of the moment we often say some pretty cruel things to our spouses that should never have left our lips.  We all need to learn to let somethings remain unsaid especially with those we love.

Thanks Ben for these inspiring words…..

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Jim WallisJim Wallis is one of my current day heroes. He is editor-in-chief of a magazine called Sojourners.  Here is their mission statement:

The mission of Sojourners magazine is to inspire hope and action by articulating the biblical call to racial and social justice, life and peace,and environmental stewardship

I have been getting their magazine for some years now and from his writings I feel I almost know him on a personal level. He also sends out  frequent e-mails about brother’s keeper issues.  He inspires me to do what I can to love my neighbor no matter his race, religion, or economic circumstances.  Here are some of his words from the latest e-mail about the politics of the “fiscal cliff”.

Continue Reading…

Sojourners….

September 30, 2012

With my ingrained altruist and “Follower of Jesus” worldview I am naturally drawn to and inspired by Sojourners magazine.  This month’s issue is centered about making sure those in impoverished neighborhoods have access to quality education.  I hope some of you will consider subscribing.  No, I am not being paid anything for this endorsement.