Monday, June 30, 2008

To My Son

Marc is getting ready to go on Trek in Wyoming. I was asked to write a letter that will be given him while he's on Trek. Here it is:

Dear Marc,

One of the greatest joys of my life is having you as my son. I love you. I enjoy being with you and I enjoy our conversations. It has also been a spectacular journey watching you grow into a young man. Life is a journey not a destination.

Sometimes life forces itself upon us and we just have to tough it out and make the best of the situation. At other times many options are before us and we have to choose. I don’t know what fields of study and endeavor you will pursue in your life, but I have great faith and confidence that you are fully capable of figuring this out. (I know there have been times when you’ve felt like I made you do something, but I want you to know I believe in you and your ability to make your own choices. I will tell you what I see based on my experiences in life, but my desire is always to let you make your own choices.)

You have worked hard to make the most of your talents and abilities and you have also made wise choices. Working hard is not the same as making wise choices. Always remember to step back—in your mind’s eye—far enough to see the situation before you; you will never have complete informa­tion so remember to trust in Heavenly Father. Make an assessment of your options, make a decision and then work hard to accomplish your mission. To the extent possible, follow your heart.

Life is constantly changing and you must learn to change with it. Skill sets will come and go, opportunities will come and go, talents will come and go, and even people will come and go; through it all you must learn new things and apply them. Hold fast to the people you love and who love you, but understand even they will come and go. Keep them in your heart, but don’t let their loss cripple your ability to act.

Some people will be mean or rude or try to take advantage of you in an effort to “get ahead” or for no good reason at all. Avoid these people if you can, but that is not always possible especially at work. Many people believe life is a competition (sports, school, work, business), but that is not true not even in those areas.

Life is a journey and a road that is not meant to be traveled alone. Joy is to be found in every step not at the end. Many people will be nice and if you go out of your way to be nice to them you can have incredible friendships. Every person that you meet whether bright or not, talented or not, beautiful or not, rich or not has something to contribute and if you listen you may be surprised. Develop these friendships and networks of people you can rely on and work with. This is extremely important. I didn’t realize this and it has curtailed some of my opportunities in life.

Never forget you also have great contributions to make. Some may not want to let you contribute; do it anyway. Others will be grateful for your contributions.

I could not have asked to live at a better time or with a better family. I love you so much. Even as much as I love you I know that our Heavenly Father and Mother love each of us infinitely more. Don’t forget to check in with Heavenly Father regularly. Go and do your very best; there will be times when you feel you have fallen short, but you haven’t if you never give up.

I love you.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Just Keep Swimming Uphill

Charles Darwin made a name for himself and shaped the thinking of the world with his theory of evolution by natural selection. I believe in evolution, but not to the extreme that Darwin and many in modern science believe.

Through our own experience we see evolution on a small scale: we create new strains of plants and see that genetic code can be altered by cross breeding. I can even accept that over long periods of time cross breeding could result in improvements to the genetic code itself, but I still sense the work of a higher being, God, in the world and the universe.

My point here isn't which is right: creationism or evolution. No, its a different subject entirely--society and government.

For those that so adamantly endorse evolution the idea of a managed society should be heresy. The evolution of the world and its vast array of biodiversity is the result of natural selection not central planning. Even natural selection with just a little help from those that believe they are truly bright enough to enhance the whole process would still be tinkering. For those that believe in a higher being, central planning is still wrong because it means control of the many by the few. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by very definition mean freedom of the individual to choose.

Information is increasing at an incredible rate. Not all information is available to all people; it's impossible to collect all information into one repository, and even if it were possible it's impossible for one individual or even a small group of individuals--no matter how smart--to process that information in a timely manner. Even the gifted and talented cannot know more than a fraction of the information needed to effectively "run" the economy. That is especially true as we become a global economy and move further into the age of information.

Collectively though, all available information is known and is processed by someone. Millions of people acting independently and in their own best interest are able to more rapidly sift through information and put it to use. Some will choose wisely and others won't and it doesn't matter. Millions of decisions will be made and of those decisions the best, the most practical will produce positive results and rise to the top.

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