December 16, 2020
When I was in college, I had a comic strip hanging up in my dorm room. The single panel was from the nationally syndicated “Pluggers” comic. The text of the comic was simple: “An ounce of work is worth a pound of meetings.” I have long held this opinion and think back to the motto often. The fact of the matter is that 10 minutes of work will generally outproduce hours worth of meetings. This morning, I have found myself reflecting on this idea and applying it to a different subject altogether. In the past few weeks, I have had several people talk to me about how they are frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, or depressed about things happening in the larger world outside of Big Sandy. One of the biggest recurring worries is about the kind of future their children will be growing up in. Many people have spent huge amounts of time watching the news or scrolling online sources obsessing over the news. The hardest part about the situation most of these folks find themselves in is they feel powerless to do anything about it. What can any of us do about the economy, cultural decline, the election, the pandemic, or anything else? Many folks have resorted to arguing with strangers online to fight the good fight in saving the future. To all of the folks I’ve visited with in these situations, I have a simple maxim: “An ounce of work in your home or community is worth tons of worrying about stuff you can’t do anything about anyway.” The reality is that if we are worried about our kids’ future, spending time teaching them right from wrong, loving them with the time and attention we spend, training them to deal with difficult circumstances, attending church with them, or any number of other things will impact their lives and futures more than strong emotions and debate. It’s better to prepare our kids to deal with tomorrow than to pretend our news obsessions are making any difference at all. I’m not saying that we should ignore the evils and injustices that happen in the world or that we should be silent in response. Rather, I’m saying that volunteering at the local food bank for a few hours will feed more hungry people than having strong feelings about hungry people. The difficult truth that is that as bad as the rest of the world is sometimes, we can make more difference by acting righteously in our community and in our own homes than by angrily obsessing over evil people elsewhere. Conversely, investing too much time worrying about the current news cycle to the neglect of your own family or community involvement will definitely have a negative impact on your kids’ future. If you find yourself worried about the world your kids will inherit, an ounce of work is worth a pound of feelings. Make your kids into the kinds of people who will make the world better. If enough of us do that, the future will take care of itself.