Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quotable Quote—Greatness

“Let us remember, too, that greatness is not always a matter of the scale of one's life, but of the quality of one's life. True greatness is not always tied to the scope of our tasks, but to the quality of how we carry out our tasks whatever they are. In that attitude, let us give our time, ourselves, and our talents to the things that really matter now, things which will still matter a thousand years from now.” —Spencer W. Kimball, "A Gift of Gratitude", Tambuli, Dec 1977

I’ve mentioned it before; I grew up in a family of ten siblings. Our mother was a very good homemaker and we essentially spring cleaned every Saturday. We pulled the furniture out, dusted the walls, mopped, waxed and buffed the floor, fixed a salad a dessert for Sunday . . . you get the picture. It was probably necessary with so many of us and the dust blowing in from the farm, but I got to where I hated Saturdays because everyone was cross; yet I loved Sunday mornings not only because of the extra rest but waking up to such a clean house.

I became my own homemaker and had the same tradition; however I cleaned just so that I could say I had cleaned. I didn’t look to see whether it needed it or not . . . it was Saturday and therefore things should be scrubbed. One day I realized I was in a traditional rut. I was scouring just so I could say I had cleaned. Things weren’t even dirty. I kept the cross part of the tradition, too. It was the first time I remember consciously making a decision of “will this matter a hundred years from now?” I knew cleanliness, order and work habits would be important, but would immaculate and did I want to be remembered as cross? It revolutionized the way I looked at homemaking . . . and mothering . . . and the passage of time.

There are just so many good choices in the world and I have noticed the older I get the more easily I get distracted. We used to have one TV channel, one telephone, the church magazines and occasionally a good new book (our library wasn’t free). Focusing was doable. Now we have hundreds of TV channels, movies mailed to our homes or downloaded instantly, individual cell phones, immediate internet and people access via phones and computers, magazines and books galore and new hobby opportunities everywhere. There are hundreds of things on which to focus and “stuff” far and wide entice my time and attention. Depending on how I use those things, they have helped me do great things and they have distracted me from achieving greatness. “. . . In that attitude, let me give my time, myself and my talent to the thing that will really matter a thousand years from now.” Unlike my I-get-it homemaking epiphany, I can see I’ll be learning this again and again and again . . . at least 'till I choose greatness every time.

7 comments:

tina said...

So much wisdom Jane. When you figure out how to make that one stick - do tell! Distractions are everywhere. And sometimes I just want them to engulf me for an hour - like Calgon (not sure how to spell that crazy soap). I am again suddendly addicted to a computer game called Roller Coaster Tycoon. Yeah, I should really be doing something that matters more than building the coolest computerized theme park. I do feel good that I read the scriptures with my boys this morning though. So, I'm not totally lost . . . yet! :)

Jill said...

This post is great, really something to think about. I've been thinking lately that I need to really look at the way I spend my time. So many of the things I do end up leaving me wondering where the time went, and that all adds up. Even if a lot of it is good stuff, I know it could be better.

Becky said...

I love this quote and thought about it for most of yesterday after reading it. I'm so grateful for the Spirit that can guide us because otherwise how would we know where to spend our time? So often what is most important today is something that we can put on the back burner the next day...Jeff and I have to constantly work on this and fine-tune it. Otherwise he would be under constant stress while trying to balance bishop stuff, family, and work--sometimes the family stuff has to wait and sometimes the bishop stuff has to wait...and I'm grateful for divine guidance to help us know when those times are!

Thanks for sharing this quote!

Mindy said...

I love quotes and this one is a great one!

Thanks for sharing!

HeatherM said...

I love the thought of asking that question - with every big and small choice - you are right, that will be true greatness. Let's aspire to have a great year this year, together!

Hannah said...

This is the perfect post for how I want to embrace this year and focus on what matters- thus my choosing of the word focus to focus on this year..."Focus. Focus. Focus is good. Focus is good." Your comment has been going through my head since you made it :) Thanks.

michelle said...

What a wonderful quote, Jane. I really need to work on time management, being more efficient with my time, and spending it on the things that really matter. Thanks for sharing!