Weekly Virtue: Recap Hope, Prepare for Love or Charity

As I said earlier, Hope is a strange one for me. I don’t consider Hope, on its own, to be a virtue.

Quote from Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men:

Miss Tick sniffed. “You could say this advice is priceless,” she said. “Are you listening?”
“Yes,” said Tiffany.
“Good. Now…if you trust in yourself…”
“…and believe in your dreams…”
“…and follow your star…” Miss Tick went on.
“…you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Good-bye.”‘

So, I generally hoped things would go well and worked towards them. Things went well.

The next virtue is Love or Charity. For this week, I’ll distinguish them by scale and tangibility. (Is that a word?)

Love is close to home, and, when they’re capable of it, they love you back. It’s an intangible. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling. In many ways, it’s an investment that creates its own reward. Hugging a kid or helping them find a sock in the drawer they still haven’t tidied. (Reminding them to put their clothes out the night before so you can find the sock while they brush their teeth, a good 12 hours before the morning rush, is even better.) Less doing, more feeling.

I’m doing okay with that, except at bed time when my daughter sleep-walks to the bathroom and cries. I need more patience then. Listen to her describe what’s wrong and do something — placebo medicine is great — to help her back to sleep. (Sitting with her doesn’t work when she’s convinced she’s in great pain.) Knitting a pet scorpion for my son (who loves scorpions and claims the hand-knit socks aren’t any better than regular socks).

Charity is actually doing something tangible, for someone you’re not close to. Tidying shelves in the library, sending money to Haiti, shoveling the neighbour’s walk when he can’t, without expecting anything back. It’s less personal.

I need to work on charity. The budget includes a reasonable amount of money, but I’m not investing much time. I used to. Two hours a week of leading Girl Guides, plus two weekend camps each year. Last year it was rolling coins for the school, but the new secretary does it now. (The new, accurate coin tray made it much faster.) Son’s class doesn’t need me for field trips anymore, and he needs the experience. The first time he went without me, he was in tears. Dtr’s class often needs me, but that’s still only a few hours every few months.

If I include Storytelling, it becomes reasonable. The money we raise at performances goes to local charities. Sometimes I go to a school. Hours spent rehearsing, meeting, advertising and actually performing adds up. I’m not sure if how effective it is, though, hour vs actual effect.

So, this week I will continue to be patient with the kids, and maintain a healthy and relaxed home for the family. To quote FlyLady, “Nothing says, ‘I love you,’ like a clean toilet to throw up in.” I will also put in enough rehearsal time so that next month’s performance goes well, and try not to resent the time I spend sending out advertisements for the guild. Not procrastinating would help the last one.

What are your thoughts, and do you have any virtue-related goals for the week?


Tolkein for Life

We were watching Lord of the Rings as a family. Gandalf and Frodo had a conversation while in Rivendel, and say this:

‘I wish it need not have 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 to us.’

So True! "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us!"

The series suits FLYing very well, in so many ways:

  • Little by little, one travels far.
  • If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
  • It’s a job that’s never started that takes the longest to finish.
  • His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking, best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.
  • "It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.
  • But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on — and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end.
  • The deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.


At the council of Elrond, they are amazed that the hobbits seem so resistant to the effects of the ring. Yes, they’re affected, but not as badly as others.

I give them two reasons:

The Shire. During the darkest days of their journey, Sam talks about food they enjoy, and the Shire. They draw strength from their memories, and they literally go to the ends of the earth to protect it and those they love.

Their size. They are small. They know they cannot do great deeds or be great rulers. They do not want the power or responsibility the ring tries to lure them with. They are content with their piece of the world, with food, cheer and song — shared with friends.

(Thanks to http://www.quotationspage.com for collecting the quotations.)


Goals are like the stars. We rarely reach them, but we chart our course by them.
– Anon.

Dreams always come a size too big so we can grow into them.
– Anon

Companions to yesterday’s quote.

Yesterday’s said we were to set great dreams and then make them a reality.

Today’s first was in my high school English room. I apply it more to intangible goals, like being a good person or raising good kids. Those goals are hard to measure.

The last one is currently on the sign board outside the kids’ school. Absolutely appropriate to that age, and the neighbourhood, which includes a lot of financially-challenged families. My dreams for the kids are things that don’t quite fit for the moment. I try to keep them general, but so far their specific castles are things that will meet my general dreams.

Me, I’m mid-life. Still learning things, but it doesn’t feel right to start a long, expensive (time and money) course of study at this stage. It’s more that I’d be taking up classroom space better used by someone who will use the skills for longer, than I don’t want to learn. Besides, right now, my job is to ensure that my kids and family can meet their goals. That’s a very worthy goal, but quite different from the one I was formally trained for.

The kids have a long road ahead of them, and the fewer bumps the better. That’s not to say there shouldn’t be any bumps. They need to learn to deal with them, and to experience what happens when you make a bad decision. Any experiences they don’t have now, they’ll have later, when it may be harder to recover, or when they may lose more. My job is to ensure they have someplace to come back to after they have those experiences, and that they get to choose their speed bumps rather than have them forced on them.


Aha! Something useful to do with my blog: Quotations, and the thoughts they trigger.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.
– Henry David Thoreau.

I love this one.

My son wants to design working Transformers, and do things in space. I use those goals to keep him motivated at school. If the banker can’t read what you wrote on the loan application, he’ll deny the loan. If you don’t learn math, they won’t accept you into an engineering program, or any of the other programs that would help you learn what you need for those jobs. He’ll also need to communicate with the people who will build the parts. All those subjects become the foundations for his dream job.

He’s beginning to realize those jobs probably won’t happen. I keep reaffirming that those subjects he’s already working on will become useful foundations for other jobs he’ll enjoy, and not having them will drastically limit his options. It’s sad, though, watching him change those castles to something the available foundation-construction methods can actually reach. It’s a normal part of growing up, but it’s sad.

Covey talks about goals and roles. One of my lifetime goals is to raise my kids to become productive, worthwhile members of society. One of the pillars supporting that goal is my own castle — our home. I want it to be a calm, supportive, comfortable environment. To do that, I keep it clean and tidy, and model being a good, effective, efficient worker, even if all I’m doing at the moment is housework.

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