Friday, September 21, 2012


Dear Temple,

I hope this note finds you well and happy. I've been lax in sending letters. I’m out of stamps and can claim no other reason than sloth as for why I haven’t gone out and purchased new ones. Sloth isn’t a good thing - means laziness or apathy. I can rationalize. Going to the post office, or anywhere for that matter, is an ordeal now with three children. Did you buy it? Am I off the hook? No? smart girl.

There is a bonus to writing you this way. I’m sure your grandma and grandpa will enjoy reading a letter that they can actually read. My handwriting is very poor. I could do better but I just don’t take the time to be neat. I guess we’re talking about sloth again. So far this letter is making me out to be a lazy person, which I am not. I guess there are good and bad points to every person and it’s all really in how you view them.

When I was in administration I had a little speech that I used to give my employees when I was teaching them about conflict resolution. The gist of the speech, I don’t want to bore you with the whole thing, is that finding fault in another person is easy. It’s all in your attitude. I used myself as an example. When I was working I was the best supervisor at my level. I had excellent relationships with my staff and the families I worked with. I went above and beyond in all tasks and never shirked or passed off work. However, if my boss wanted too, he could label me as a bad employee. He could do this “Justin, I’ve noticed that you make coffee in the morning and get several cups during the day. If I put a rough estimate on it, I would say that you take about twelve minutes per working day just getting coffee. That means that in a year’s time you are doing noting but getting coffee for 48 hours of working time. That’s a week and a day or working time just you going back and forth getting coffee. Is that a good use of company time? What you are doing is stealing from us. You give me one good reason why I should pay you to go back and forth getting coffee for a week.”

No matter how good a person is, if you want too, you can find bad in them.

If you want to hate someone, it’s pretty easy to find a reason.

Love is much harder. Isn’t that funny? Everything virtuous takes real effort. I think the reason is that hate isn’t as much of a commitment. People will tell you that this is wrong, but it’s not. When you hate someone you write them off. You don’t feel any real responsibility toward them. When you love someone, it almost requires you to take care of them. Help them when they need it. Check in on them to show that you care about them. It takes real effort. Love is responsibility. It’s also something God likes in you. The more you love and help others, the more God will give you the opportunity to do so. Sometimes I beleaguer the loss of free time, the little of it I have, when someone asks me for help.

But I’m pretty bad with free time. I am a person that needs to be kept busy - like your grandpa. So the work is a kindness to others, but it’s also a good thing for me.

The boys are down for nap. They are still a little sick from getting their shots. Elijah is working on his home school. He has a math and language test today. I think he’ll do well. His last couple of math tests are kind of throwing me. The first one he didn’t finish in the time allowed, but he got everything right. The second test he finished on time but got a problem wrong. What’s better? To be accurate and a little slow, or to be fast but not wholly accurate?

I don’t know either.

I love you very much and miss you,

Uncle Justin

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