Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph
Aix en Provence March. 28. 1787.
“of all the cankers of human happiness, none corrodes it with so silent, yet so baneful a tooth, as indolence. body & mind both unemployed, our being becomes a burthen, & every object about us loathsome, even the dearest. idleness begets ennui, ennui the hypochondria, & that a diseased body. no laborious person was ever yet hysterical. exercise & application produce order in our affairs, health of body, chearfulness of mind, & these make us precious to our friends. it is while we are young that the habit of industry is formed, if not then, it never is afterwards. the fortune of our lives therefore depends on employing well the short period of youth. if at any moment, my dear, you catch yourself [. . .] in idleness, start from it as you would from a precipice of a gulph. you are not however to consider yourself unemployed while taking exercise. that is necessary for your health, and health is the first of all objects.”
Thomas Jefferson foresaw the danger in allowing our youth to live without duties, physical labor (even sports) and responsibilities to others. Playing computer games occupies the mind and fills it full of make-believe, while using up precious time that could be spent, at least, in contemplation and planning of one’s future. In other words, modern society is crippling our youth.
Growing up on a farm, we chopped cotton, picked cotton, pulled corn, fed the livestock, milked the cows, drove tractors in the fields, etc., etc. I don’t claim to have grown up as a perfect role model for anyone; but at least I learned that I was a value to others, that I was capable of much more than I could have imagined, and that I was responsible and could handle anything that came my way. If I didn’t know how to do something, I knew that I had the capacity to learn what I needed in order to attain my goal. I was challenged.
The modern family is challenged from every direction and we tend to prioritize the, seemingly, least demanding of our time to the back ground. However, even though we may not see the importance or immediate need of an item, doesn’t mean that it isn’t the most important. We need, not only to keep our kids out of trouble, but to help them attain success. We need to make time for our kids. And while we’re at it, make time for God. He is the greatest source of wisdom and power that we can utilize in order to succeed in our goals. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask Him for help. We need Him a lot more than we can even imagine. He created us, He protects us, He heals us, and He’ll take us home when this journey is finished.
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