“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
I’m not as productive as I’d like to be. Who is?
I spend a good amount of time reading.
And I’ve been writing. Drawing. Painting.
I go for the occasional walk.
I’ve also spent quite a bit of time with my boys. That’s always good.
You can’t control which thoughts come into your head. But you can choose which thoughts to entertain.
Dismiss the bad ones.
Focus on the good ones.
What you focus on expands.
Most people focus on the negative.
Changing your focus is hard. Some of us need professional help to change. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Leave reminders for yourself. Sticky notes. Photos. Anything that helps you remember what’s good in your life.
One thing I like to do is make a game of it. Especially when I get annoyed in traffic. I’ll ask myself what I’m grateful for, and start making a list. I try to not just list things, but to actually feel gratitude for each thing. It always helps. Sometimes I get really emotional.
I’m not perfect at this. I forget to do it.
I still get mad. I still yell at my kids.
I don’t stay mad as long, though. My kids are better off.
A man is an adult male human. There’s more to it than that, though.
We learn what it is to be a man from the men around us. Usually our dads.
My dad died when I was three.
When I was little my favorite show was Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fred Rogers was a big role model for me.
Fortunately both my grandpas lived into my adulthood. They lived close by for most of that time. They both enjoyed teasing their grandkids.
My mom called her dad when she needed help. Whether it was the car, the plumbing, or anything else, he was the first one on the job. I held the flashlight. I went with him to the hardware store. He built my pinewood derby cars with me. He soldered the connections on my science project, a burglar alarm. He always said I could talk to him. I wish I hadn’t been so shy. I wish I could still talk to him.
I had great scout leaders. One was the Assistant Scout Master. Assistant in name only. He loved Scouting. He was really Gung-ho for it. The Scout Master seemed content to let him take charge. He was outgoing, friendly, and full of energy. He became the Explorer Leader around the time I became an Explorer. I wouldn’t have gotten very far in scouting without him. He died too young. I named my youngest son after him.
I didn’t get serious about my Eagle until I was sixteen-and-a-half. Another great leader helped me get it. I had a ton of merit badges I had to earn. He acted as counselor for almost all of them. He was also on my Eagle Board of Review. Another member of the board tried to persuade the others I hadn’t satisfied the requirements. He persuaded them I had. We were both active in the Order of the Arrow. I believe he was the one who nominated me for the Vigil Honor.
I’ve had a lot of good bishops. One was bishop of a singles ward I attended. Whenever he needed inspiration he would sit back and close his eyes and wait. He was always kind, never harsh or judgemental. I never felt like I couldn’t talk to him.
Then there are the action movie star types. John Wayne. Clint Eastwood. Bruce Willis. Harrison Ford. Arnold. Sometimes I wish I was more like them. Tougher. Less emotional.