Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 11, Q3
Tranquility: “Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
- Learn to accept certain behaviors from people, you’re not going to change them;
- It’s not cancer, it’s not bankruptcy;
- Focus on what is in our control.
For this week I wrote a piece all about the dishwasher. You see, the mere sight of my wife loading the dishwasher sent me into a panic. She must be terrible at Tetris, I thought. The misplaced dishes and wasted space evoked a physical response, a claustrophobic punch to the stomach. No one likes being punched in the stomach. So I decided to write about the trivial dishwasher. A perfectly clear observation of disturbing trifles. I liked what I wrote. I liked it a lot. Then I threw it away.
I threw it away because at the end of the week I had a terrible two days; I let all of life’s trifles run wild. I was angry about everything and it ruined the otherwise happy week. It was all my fault. I spent too much time reading the news, staring at my investment portfolio, constantly checking my phone and sitting alone in a dark, gray room. A storm festered and darkness rumbled.
Friday morning, the day most people are happy for the weekend, I lit into my daughter – she’s two. I made her cry, and as I grabbed her for a time-out, I noticed my wife cry too. Sure I can rattle off a list of excuses, but at the end of the day, my daughter is two. I lost my cool. When my anger broke, I felt guilty and sad, and threw out the dishwasher. I had to write something else.
Today’s mood is angry. Anger is infectious. It has the capacity to distort and denigrate the here and now. I allowed the love between a parent and a child to become a nuisance. The two year old who was sick and hungry became a trifle. The trifle triggered my anger. My anger hurt what I love. It was the very opposite of Tranquility and I felt terrible. It was time to step back and reset. I put down the technology and picked up a book. I turned my attention back towards the children instead of away from them. The reset was helpful and the weekend ended happy. Luckily, I caught myself before falling too far.
Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 12, Q3
Chastity: “Rarely use venery but for health or offspring. Never to dullness, weakness or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
- Everyone’s favorite week is back;
- My wife’s talking about more kids;
- Oh boy.
My wife keeps talking about having a third child, at least this week will help delay the inevitable. If you’re not exactly going to be chaste, it’s not a bad week to reflect on the subject.
Hope you have a great week (and good luck)