Monday, October 31, 2011

Dear Diary

I recently read an article published by The Deseret News about a woman named Cleia Schow Barrett, who is now 86 years old, who has kept a daily journal EVERY DAY SINCE JANUARY 1, 1939!  For almost 73 years, she has faithfully written in her journal about her life EVERY DAY.   There is a lovely picture of her together with ALL the journals she's kept over the years---it is remarkable.

Writing a short bit about your day isn't that remarkable.  It doesn't take much time or make much of a difference at all.  If she'd only written on one day, she probably wouldn't even still have the entry.   If she'd only written for a year or two, the book would probably be tucked away in an attic somewhere, but not the  subject of a newspaper article.

What IS remarkable is her daily diligence.  She wrote EVERY DAY for almost 73 years---and counting.  I am so impressed with her consistent performance.  So here is an AMAZING lesson I have learned from Cleia Barrett---I can do something very simple every day and it will become something spectacular and valuable over time.  Can you imagine if Cleia had started out her journal writing thinking about how much she would have to do over the next 73 years?  How intimidating and overwhelming would that be?  It might have scared her out of even beginning. 

I am guilty of trying to eat the whole elephant at one time.  My day is usually composed of simple things.  I need to do the simple things and LET THEM BE SIMPLE.  They're not hard and I don't need to intimidate myself by worrying about how many times I'm going to have to do them for the rest of my life---just today. 

And so are your programs.  Parents With Purpose programs are not NASA Laboratory experiences.  There is nothing remarkable about doing one day's worth of program.  However, over time, it becomes very powerful.  The remarkable things become the results you from doing small things EVERY DAY (5 days a week).  Just do what you need to do today, and keep going.

Like Mrs. Barrett, when we get further into the journey, we will look back and see we've learned and grown so much.  She said, "I think that I cared enough about my own life that I was in charge of my own life."  WOW!  She cared enough about her own life to decide what she wanted and how she was going to attain it.  Interesting perspective---caring about your own life.

Mrs. Barrett's daughter, Collette Judd, has also learned from her mother's journal-keeping habit. 
"Time passes and there are good things to remember about it."  Yes, time passes, programs can be hard, but there are GOOD THINGS to remember about it---a good thing to remember.
"There are times when you have to work really hard to hold on."  Yes there are.  But you DO have to hold on in order to achieve your goal.
"It doesn't seem like you are progressing day to day, but when you look back you really have."  I see this in almost every re-evaluation.  It is so easy to remain focused on how much work we have left to do, that we fail to see how much we have already accomplished.  I frequently remind parents where their child was when they began the program and their response is, "Oh my gosh.  I'd forgotten just how bad it was."  Laying out the exact progress is one of my favorite things about re-evaluations for that very reason---we often fail to see the progress.

Thank you, Mrs. Barrett, for your excellent example.  I'm uplifted and reminded that I CAN and NEED to do things consistently.  It is NOT impossible.  But it IS powerful!

If you would like to read the original article about Mrs. Barrett, you can do so here: