Live It

A while back I read about a very busy man who was a prolific writer and speaker. He also had a high-profile, government profession and a family. But “when asked of the work he was most proud to have published, he declared that it was his letters to his children.”  It was the time he had invested in communicating with his boys.

“Blessed Kermit: I need not tell you to do your best to cultivate ability for concentrating your thought on whatever work you are given to do…”troosevelt2

“Darling Archie: Do you recollect how we all of us used to play hide-and-go-seek? And have obstacle races down the hall when you brought in your friends?”

“Dear Ted: Character counts for a great deal more than either intellect or body in winning success in life.”

“Dearest Quentin: I miss you all dreadfully, and the house feels big and lonely and full of echoes with nobody but me in it… I love you very much.”

This man was one of the greatest figures in our nation’s history. He had many admirers, but none he considered as important as his four boys. He was quick to scrap his responsibilities and “focus on what lesser men would consider the trivial and unimportant duties of fatherhood…finding lizards with his sons, scrambling over rocks with them, or rejoicing in the smallest of their youthful victories and conquests.” He lived out what he believed… that fathering well was essential to meaningful existence. This heroic man was Teddy Roosevelt.

President’s Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February and is usually recognized as a day to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. These two presidents are certainly worthy of remembrance. But today I want to focus on President Theodore Roosevelt.

As a father who saw it as his mission “to raise sturdy boys”, I found T.R.’s essay “The American Boy,” first published in May of 1900, very interesting, worth reading again today.

                “Of course what we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man. Now, the chances are strong that he won’t be much of a man unless he is a good deal of a boy. He must not be a coward or a weakling, a bully, a shirk, or a prig. He must work hard and play hard. He must be clean-minded and clean-lived, and able to hold his own under all circumstances and against all comers. It is only on these conditions that he will grow into the kind of American man of whom America can be really proud….

                A boy needs both physical and moral courage. Neither can take the place of the other…

                Ridicule is one of the favorite weapons of wickedness, and it is sometimes incomprehensible how good and brave boys will be influenced for evil by the jeers of associates who have no one quality that calls for respect, but who affect to laugh at the very traits which ought to be peculiarly the cause for pride…

                He cannot do good work if he is not strong and does not try with his whole heart and soul to count in any contest; and his strength will be a curse to himself and to every one else if he does not have thorough command over himself and over his own evil passions, and if he does not use his strength on the side of decency, justice, and fair dealing…”troosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt understood the relationship “between boyhood, masculinity, leadership, strenuous living, and the future success of the American people.” As you watch the ads announcing President’s Day Sales this year, think of something besides dollars and cents. Think of President Roosevelt who “believed that right was right and that wrong was wrong, and that men can know the difference.” Now that makes real sense! Think of Teddy, who boldly rejoiced in family and above all else wanted to be remembered as a father. Think of how he lived it as a leader and playmate and friend to his children.


How about you?

How do you want to be remembered?

Do what Teddy did. Name it.  And live it!


Quotes taken from The Letters and Lessons of Theodore Roosevelt for His Sons, compiled and edited by Doug Phillips


Busy doing what?

The most common response to the oft asked question, “How ya been?” is “busy”. Really?  Sure.  Busy. An exhausting answer, but one that is true… for all of us. Each one of us can legitimately state that we are busy. Busy doing ‘what’ though?  Anything of lasting value, I wonder?

Deciding how I want to be able to answer the question ‘what keeps me busy’ has been a catalyst in helping me to choose priorities.  We do have a choice, don’t we?  I’ve had to be purposeful in making decisions with my husband for how I will use my time and how we will invest our time as a couple and as a family.  What I will and won’t be involved in.  What we will and won’t make a priority in our home and for our family. It’s been something that is very intentional.  And if it isn’t, “life” will just take over – or rather run us over. And before we know it, we’ll be looking back and saying ‘if only…’ or ‘I sure wish…’

We’ve decided that we will purposefully be home more and away less, play together more and watch TV less, make more meals from scratch and eat less processed food, make more memories and spend less on frivolous items, work together more and compete less, attempt natural healing more and ‘practice’ medicine less, focus on character more and beauty less. The list could go on and on but suffice it to say that without any plan, it would be very easy to fail… to be ‘busy’ doing things that are not going to matter years from now. Because we are all truly busy.  But busy doing what?

Maybe it’s time for a bit of reflecting for you. Look back over the past week.  If you’re ambitious, look back over the past month or even year.  And as you look back, as you reflect, ask yourself “are the things that have kept me so ‘busy’ things that are really important?  Are they going to matter in 10 or 20 years?”  I hope the answer is yes… but if you’re like too many of us, the answer you give in honesty probably more closely resembles a downcast face and mumbled phrase, “No, not really.”

Here’s the good news.  You can start today with a plan. A plan to make the way you live your life a true reflection of the goals and desire of your heart. A mirror of what you actually believe is worth the investment of your time, energy, and resources, a life with purpose . Choose one thing to “add” to your life that is a true priority for you – and implement it.

True, you will probably have to “eliminate” at least one thing on your already full plate… but I’ll bet you can find something to cross off that will actually make you feel a little more ‘free’.  Maybe it’ll require setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier.  Maybe you’ll need to plan out a health-conscious menu and then only go shopping once a week, around the perimeter of the store. Maybe you’ll need to spend less time on-line or in front of the television. But if you want things to change, you are going to have to plan and then implement a change!  Believe me; it’ll be worth it… in the long run! You will still be busy – but at least you’ll be busy mirroring priorities that truly match your heart.  Start today.  And start at home.