Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Jefferson’

Weeds and Thomas Jefferson

Returning from vacation I knew that the neglected flowerbeds would look atrocious.  They did and this past Saturday was a perfect day to attack the weeds that had grown and taken over.   Our front yard has 6 areas where the previous owners had flowerbeds, plus add the one I’ve been attempting to install along the driveway that parallels the white fence that runs along our backyard boundary.  Looking over these areas, I decided that the kids were going to have to help me.  I knew there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth, one of them might even try the old saying,”My hands won’t work!” which has gone down in family lore when our oldest tried that excuse at the age of 4 when he was told one evening that it was time to pick up his toys!

To my surprise, there wasn’t any wailing, no excuses of aching bodies or appendages that quit working, when I announced my Saturday plan while they ate their pancakes.   To ease them into their tasks, I let them work like a relay team, or a wrestling tag team, if you will.  One would come out and work with me for 15-20 minutes, then be retired for the next one to come out and do their shift.  While working with me, I had an opportunity to pass on little lessons: how to grab that weed and pull it up correctly, how dandelions have a tuber type of root that goes deep into the soil, not to touch the weed with the thorns on the stems-I’d already decided to make those my domain, and with my youngest, how the bulb plants were done blooming but their leaves were still making food with photosynthesis to keep the bulbs nourished until they bloomed again next Spring.  The kids worked well for me and we soon had a bed in tip-top shape once again.  It looks nice now with the petunias in planters and the new daylillies planted there, with the hostas,  planted by the previous owners, filling themselves out.weeds

As I worked on Saturday with my kids I thought about the job of parenting.  As a parent, you try to impart life lessons to your kids.  You hope that they listen, but some lessons they’ll learn the hard way.  One enterprising father, in 1825, wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson, who at this time in  his life, was a retired President, living quietly at his Virginia estate, Monticello.  The father informed the former President that he had named his infant son Thomas Jefferson Smith, and he wanted Mr. Jefferson to write his son a letter with advice in it as to living a good and successful life, a letter that his son could learn from and treasure when he grew older.  President Jefferson, to his credit, wrote a letter back to Mr. Smith, and also included in it a list of “Rules for Living” that the President tried to follow all of his life.  I found his rules interesting and wise and enjoyed reading them to my twin daughters last week during our History lesson-we homeschool our children, grades K-7th, and then allow them to attend 8th grade and then high school, so I am having  our twin daughters continue on with math and history lessons this summer before they venture off to 8th grade this Fall.

Here are some of President Jefferson’s Rules:  Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.  Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. Never spend your money before you have it.   Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.  Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.  When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.

President Thomas Jefferson

President Thomas Jefferson

The evening after the history lesson on Lewis and Clark, the Louisiana Purchase, and President Jefferson’s rules for living,  one of my twin daughter’s asked her twin sister to please go upstairs  and get an item for her.  I quickly pounced on one of Jefferson’s rules, never to ask someone to do something for you that you can’t do yourself, and reminded our daughter of it.   I  informed her that there was no reason why she couldn’t run upstairs and get the item herself.  She quickly  got the message and retrieved the item without her twin doing it for her.  When I read historian David McCullough’s book, John Adams, I learned that Thomas Jefferson, while considered a great statesman and President, was horrible when it came to keeping any kind of financial budget!   He was always owing payments  to business owners, despite warning his two daughters about being wasteful with money and paying one’s bills on time!  This made me think  that as  parents, we have to stay on our toes when imparting wisdom to our kids, and we can talk their ears off with our words, but we must remember that actions do speak louder than words, and the kids are watching us.  Do we live by the words of wisdom that we want to impart to the next generation that God has  blessed us with?

Land of the Free,Home of the Brave

When I began my blog I decided to use WordPress for my work and  publishing site, and it has been a great support system for me in my blogging adventure.   One feature  that WordPress has  is a section called “Stats”.   I can click on the Stats button  each day and it will show me with bar graph displays  how many times that my blog was looked at or “visited” on any given day.  Even more interesting to me is a map of the world to show me   the countries where visitors to my blog  are from.   I shared with my husband that the other day I had visitors from Germany,  the United Kingdom, and Australia.  All of these visitors to my blog, from around the world, gave me my idea for today’s blog offering.Our flag

What is the view of the United States from someone in another country?  My husband’s niece and her husband live in Kenya and from what they have told us, our President is very popular there due to his father being a native of Kenya.   From my son living in Japan for 2 years, I have learned that the Japanese people are extremely polite, curious of western culture, and would never wear ill-fitting clothes or garish outfits in public, like our son saw when his plane touched down in Seattle a couple months ago.    From a humorous article I read last week, we are a puzzle to our fellow English speaking allies  in Great Britain for our habits of : flossing our teeth, baking brownies and cookies, yelling out whoo-whoos whenever we’re excited about anything, and hugging everyone in sight.

The week that just passed was a horrible week for our country, especially for the city of Boston, Massachusetts and its suburbs.  The two brothers who set off the two bombs that killed 3 and injured over a hundred during the 117th  Boston Marathon,  were found.  One brother was killed in a police chase, and the second brother was found the next evening, hiding in a family’s boat in their backyard.  All of the questions and speculating have begun and with our national media’s efforts, will probably keep on going for quite a while.

One thing I hope that the rest of the world witnessed was that despite this terrible act,  examples of  goodness and courage  happened  immediately.  Marathon runners  began taking themselves to Boston’s hospitals in order to donate blood, which would be needed for the bombing victims.   The police: city, state, FBI, military, national guard, firefighters, all worked quickly and well and thoroughly to find those responsible for the bombings.  As a child of a police officer, now retired, I knew that my dad dealt with people making bad choices on a daily basis, that his work had the potential for harm befalling him, but I guess I just didn’t dwell on that fact.  I just knew that my dad would do his best at keeping the citizens of our Ohio town as safe as he possibly could.  Many of my friends on social media began to post prayers they were praying, or reminders for all of us to pray for the people in Boston; the power of prayer and faith in God must never be downgraded or demeaned.

I hope that the rest of the world  recognizes that our country was begun by a grand experiment, if you will.   The colonists thought it quite unfair that they should pay ever increasing taxes to the British government with no say in the matter: no one in Parliament represented the colonists voices, whether yay or nay for these taxes.  Having a very large ocean separating the colonies from their starter/sponsoring country of England also helped in providing a buffer for the burgeoning colonies when protests against the taxations began.   The Founding Fathers (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton), and the other 50 men who signed the Declaration of Independence  all knew that by  signing their names it  would mean death for them if they were caught by the British forces during the American Revolution.Trumbell's painting of the Declaration of Independence

America has been called a “melting pot” and that has been true for hundreds of years.   We are a young country and when the colonies began forming in earnest, many of them were set up expressly for various groups: Massachusetts was for the Puritans, Maryland for the Catholics, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island for anyone who wanted to live in the New World.  America has always been this, a land holding promise of a new start for those willing to work hard and to work wisely at making their dreams come true.  My own ancestors decided to leave Germany and France for America.  I think about that now and then  and I am so very glad that they did.

In summing up, we Americans may be without royalty, we may be too loud, too coarse, too rude.  Our entertainment culture boarders on trash and crosses over into trash at times.  (For that I am embarrassed for our country!)    We have societal problems, political problems, economic problems, but despite all of that and the horrors of last week, we Americans stick together.  We come together in times of tragedy and offer our help, our knowledge, our faith, our prayers.  It is still the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave, as the song’s lyrics proclaim.