Life’s Little Lesson #2: Forever Shaving

My Sons,

If you haven’t realized already that your father is a cheap-skate (the underwear hand-me-downs should have been a clue), then it’s time that you face reality.

For example, when they say “extended wear” contacts, I figure that’s what they mean. Therefore, my contact lenses last a good two years – not the two weeks typically prescribed. (That’s also why in a recent eye exam, the money-grubbing, optometrist pig accused me of having an ulcerated cornea.)

Well, I may go sightless the rest of my life – but at least I got my money’s worth on those contacts!

Which leads me, naturally, to a discussion on shaving.

The Sorry State of Your Hairs

It’s time that you knew that regardless of how much you’ve hoped and prayed, wished and wept – I’m sorry – you have been cursed with Packard Peach Fuzz. In short, nobody will ever accuse you of being a man based on your facial hair. You will never enjoy a shadow at 5 o’clock – or any other hour of the day – regardless of how long you put off shaving.

Consequently, those 16 and 24 packs of disposable shaving heads should last you long enough to bequeath them to the second and third generation of your posterity. Unless, of course, you choose to marry someone with more facial hair than you (good luck with that one).

But here’s a little secret on how to help those shavers last as long as love should – more than a couple weeks.

Shave backwards….

No, don’t turn around from the mirror and start shaving!

What I mean is, every once and awhile, use your shaver like a brush instead of a shaver.

Sometimes You Rub It The Wrong Way

You see, over time your shaving blades will get little nicks and bumps in them. This will make them dull, causing them to catch and tear the facial flesh. You end up having to press harder to get the same close shave – with the potential for even greater bloodletting. Now, some may be tempted to simply throw away their shaver, opting for a newer, exceedingly sharper one. Well, if you do that – and you’re in the habit of pressing harder from a dull blade….we’re talking bloodbath, baby!

The answer?

Shave backwards about once every month, or as often as needed. Here’s what you do: put your arm out in front of you, then take your shaver and instead of pulling it toward you as if to shave the hair on your arms, push it away. Push your shaver over the unmanly hair on your arms several times. What this does is smooth out those nicks and bumps on your old blades – so they live to shave another day.

Here, let me show you:

As Nike said – and Pres. Kimball said better – do it! You, your wallet, and your shaving posterity will be glad you did.

Love, Dad

If you got anything out of this lesson, then you may get something out of this: Life’s Little Lesson #1: Watch For Closet Infidelity

A Valentine’s Wish

My sons,

Valentine’s Day is a good thing – a time set aside where we can reflect upon our sweethearts and what they mean to us.

If it has one weakness, it is its tendency to focus too much on the romance side of things at the neglect of what constitutes true love.

The Lesson I Have Never Forgotten

I want to share some marital advice with you in the form of a story. President Boyd K. Packer shared this experience:

Shortly before I was married I was assigned with an older companion to serve as home teacher to an aged little lady who was a shut-in. She was a semi-invalid, and often when we knocked on the door she would call us to come in. We would find her unable to be about and would leave our message at her bedside.

We somehow learned that she was very partial to lemon ice cream. Frequently we would stop at the ice cream store before making our visit. Because we knew her favorite flavor, there were two reasons we were welcome to that home.

On one occasion the senior companion was not able to go, for reasons that I do not remember. I went alone and followed the ritual of getting a half-pint of lemon ice cream before making the call.

I found her in bed. She expressed great worry over a grandchild who was to undergo a very serious operation the following day. She asked if I would kneel at the side of her bed and offer a prayer for the well-being of the youngster.

After the prayer, thinking of my coming marriage, I suppose, she said, “Tonight I will teach you.” She said she wanted to tell me something and that I was always to remember it. Then began the lesson I have never forgotten. She recounted something of her life.

A few years after her marriage to a fine young man in the temple, when they were concentrating on the activities of young married life and raising a family, one day a letter came from “Box B.” (In those days a letter from “Box B” in Salt Lake City was invariably a mission call.)

To their surprise they were called as a family to go to one of the far continents of the world to help open the land for missionary work. They served faithfully and well, and after several years they returned to their home, to set about again the responsibilities of raising their family.

Then this little woman focused in on a Monday morning. It could perhaps be called a blue washday Monday. There had been some irritation and a disagreement. Then some biting words between husband and wife. Interestingly enough, she couldn’t remember how it all started or what it was over. “But,” she said, “nothing would do but that I follow him to the gate, and as he walked up the street on his way to work I just had to call that last biting, spiteful remark after him.”

Then, as the tears began to flow, she told me of an accident that took place that day, and he never returned. “For fifty years,” she sobbed, “I’ve lived in hell knowing that the last words he heard from my lips were that biting, spiteful remark.”

This was the message to her young home teacher. She pressed it upon me with the responsibility never to forget it. I have profited greatly from it. I have come to know since that time that a couple can live together without one cross word ever passing between them.

Never A Cross Word

I know the idea of a couple living together without one cross word ever passing between them may seem far-fetched. But it is achievable – and so worthwhile.

Please remember that marriage is a companionship, not a competition. Please remember that your words can uplift, endear, and express love – but if you are not careful, they can also degrade, distance and hurt someone. And words spoken out of anger can hurt someone for a very long time.

Please speak kindly, humbly, politely. Please do not be short with each other or pick at each other. If you or your spouse are stressed, please do not lash out or speak out of spite. Control your temper. You can help diffuse a stressful situation if you will speak kindly and humbly.

I know that sometimes it will be hard. With children come added responsibility and stress, making it harder at times to speak kindly. Recognize this and determine to speak kindly anyway or to interject some humor to lighten the situation.

Above all, remember that you love your sweetheart. She is your companion, your helpmate, your greatest friend. You get to travel this mortal road together and she is your greatest advocate, your confidante, your greatest fan. Make sure that you are hers and show it each day by your kind words and deeds.

Love, Dad

TSA Cheer!

TSA Cheer!

 

TSA CHEER:

You can’t see London,

You can’t see France,

Until we see your underpants!

Pursue The Path

The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

Happiness is the object and design of our creation,

and will be the end thereof if we pursue the path that leads to it.

Now, in my mind, that quote teaches some great things about how to achieve your goals.

So, let’s break it down to see what we can learn from it:

  • If “happiness” is your object – (your goal)
  • Then, “it will be the end thereof” – (you will achieve it)
  • “If [you] pursue the path that leads to it.”

I believe that too often people focus so much on the goal that they neglect a proper focus on the path that leads to the goal. For example, take weight loss. Most people who want to lose weight determine the amount they want to lose and then figure they have to eat less and exercise more. So, they charge in with diet and exercise and get on the scale each day to check their progress. Eventually, they get frustrated, lose hope and quit.

Measure Carefully

At this point, let me bring in Stephen R. Covey for some added credibility and brainpower. In goal setting, Covey talks about how there are “lead measures” and there are “lag measures.” Lead measures are those factors or numbers that are: 1) Influence-able (meaning we have control over them); and 2) Highly Predictive (meaning they will more than likely bring the results of our desired goal). Lag measures are those factors or numbers that lag or come after our efforts are expended to reach our goals.

So, using our weight loss goal example, lead measures would be diet and exercise. Those efforts are influence-able (we can control those factors – eating less and exercising more) and highly predictive (if we eat less and exercise more the prospects are very high that we’ll lose weight). The lag measure in weight loss is stepping on the scale to see if we actually lost weight.

Therein lies the problem with most people and setting a goal to lose weight. The majority of their mental focus is on the scale – checking each day to see if they’ve made any progress. Instead, they should be spending their time and mental efforts on pursuing the path that leads to weight loss – eating less and exercising more. If people would quit worrying about the scale and focus instead on the diet and exercise, then, by and by, they will lose the weight and the lag measure of the scale will prove it.

A Journey to be Enjoyed

One more example….

If you’re hiking up a steep mountain and stop every minute to look at the top – to see how you’re doing in relationship to your goal – it won’t be a very fun hike. In fact, you’ll most likely get discouraged. And what’s more, you’ll be missing the whole experience of your journey to the top. Instead, if you focus on the path and indulge in the experience of that – taking in the sights, sounds, and sensations of it all – you’ll stay motivated and then, by and by, you’ll make it to the top, having both enjoyed your hike and achieved your goal.

Perhaps that’s why we hear so often the advice to enjoy the journey.

It’s great to achieve your goal. But it’s pursuing the path – enjoying the journey – where you experience the sights, sounds, and growth in life.

Go ahead and set your goals, but then, focus on the path that will get you there.

Then, enjoy that path!

Love, Dad

The Real, Real Meaning of Christmas


Dear Boys,

While thoughts of Santa Claus bring a twinkle to the eye and warmth to the heart (we’re grateful for this mythical figure’s kindness and cheer), many rejoice and all must admit that the reason we have the holiday we call Christmas is to commemorate the birth of the babe Jesus Christ.

While the birth of Jesus Christ is the “reason for the season,” President Gordon B. Hinckley reminds us of a significant truth. He taught that if it wasn’t for the Savior Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice, His birth would have been “just another birth.” It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ that makes His birth – makes Christmas – truly significant.

If there were no atoning sacrifice, there would be no reason to celebrate His birth.

The Savior of All Mankind

When the angel of the Lord came upon the shepherds abiding in the field he declared, “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:11) thus, placing the emphasis, not on His birth, but on His role as our Savior and Redeemer.

In His role as Savior, Jesus Christ can save us from our sins.

This little child, born in a lowly stable, grew “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) He grew into a man who “went about doing good,” (Acts 10:38) doing “always those things that please[d]” His Father. (John 8:29) This Man – He who was without sin – willingly took upon Himself our sins. He suffered for your sins and mine – which suffering caused Him “to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit – and would that [He] might not drink of the bitter cup, and shrink – Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and [He] partook and finished [His] preparations unto the children of men.” (D&C 19:18-19)

Making Things Right

Because He loved us, He suffered for our sins that “[we] might not suffer if [we] would repent.” (D&C 19:16)

So, if we have made choices that have brought sorrow into our lives or the lives of others – whether those choices have been intentional or through our weakness – that sorrow can be overcome. Things hurt or broken can be mended. Things dirtied or profaned can be cleansed. Sorrows can be turned into joy if we will exercise faith in the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ, turn from our mistakes and keep His commandments.

Therefore, What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be?

But, He not only redeems us from the hurt we have caused ourselves or others; He can also lift us to become more than we currently are. It is when men follow Him, learn of him, become meek and lowly like Him that there will finally be “peace on earth” and “good will toward men.” As C.S. Lewis succinctly said, “The Son of God became man to enable men to become the sons of God.”

Yes, Christmas is more than lights, music, Santa and presents. It is more than simply the birth of a babe. Christmas is celebrating Christ the Lord, the Savior of all mankind, coming to this earth, setting a perfect example for us, atoning for our sins, and providing His divine grace so that we might be enabled to return to our heavenly home. He is the One who can “fit us for heaven to live with [Him] there.”

This Christmas, as we remember Him and His Atoning Sacrifice, may we join with the heavenly hosts in singing, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14) for all that He has done for us. May we always remember Him that we might have that promised blessing of His spirit to always be with us.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Dad

Ho, Ho, Hooooo!

Ho, Ho, Hooooo!

Santa’s got some B.O.!

(and he shook when he ate that bowl full of chili….)

Swiftly Flow The Days….

Playwright Joseph Stein (center top) and Composer Jerry Bock (center bottom)

Those who participated in this year’s “Sing for your Supper” may be surprised to learn that Joseph Stein, Fiddler on the Roof playwright, passed away the day after our little get together. Jerry Bock, Fiddler on the Roof composer, died a week and a half later.

Sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the days….

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