Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday Thinking – Ig’zæm pəl

            The problem with Thursday Thinking posts is they are so darn personal.  And while I don’t hesitate to tell you when my toenails are painted red, or what we’re having for supper, or even point out some of my faults in case you’re not a student of the obvious . . . to tell you what I’m thinking?  That’s personal.    

            I’ve been thinking about the example of Jon Huntsman, Sr.  Several years ago I read an article on him.  Mr. Huntsman was born and raised in Southern Idaho, which could have made him kith and kin.  As I remember the story, when he was in high school, his father returned to school for additional education to better support the family.  The Huntsman sons split the family finances so that their father could attend – one paid for household expenses, another took care of the car/repairs/gasoline, and the third provided for the family medical expenses and medicine. 
            Several years later after Jon had married, he and his wife determined that they would give 30% of their income to charity – thirty percent even as struggling college students.  They strongly believed that where much was given, much was required and they intended to use their talents and resources to bless mankind.
            Jon Huntsman went on to develop plastic egg cartons, the McDonald’s Big Mac container, plastic eating utensils . . . and a long list of similar products.  (However, when it was suggested that the containers might be harmful to the environment his company ceased manufacturing them.)  Jon Huntsman’s name grew through the years as his reputation of integrity and charitable giving spread.  In one business dealing, Mr. Huntsman found it necessary to sell 40% of his company to raise funds.  The new buyer and Mr. Huntsman shook hands on the $54 million deal.  It took the buyer’s lawyers several months, however, to draw up the contract and finalize negotiations.  When it was time to sign the papers, 40% of the company’s worth had swelled to well over two hundred million dollars.  The buyer told Mr. Huntsman that he would split the difference but Mr. Huntsman said, “I shook your hand at $54 million six months ago and that's exactly what you're going to pay.”  Mr. Huntsman never regretted the lost millions because he said it would have cost him so much more, his integrity, to break his word. 
            Ever since I read that article on Jon Huntsman I have paid particular attention to what he has to say.   Recently Glen Beck interviewed Mr. Huntsman on his show and the incident when one of Jon and Karen Huntsman’s teenage sons was kidnapped was told.  The kidnapping happened right after the Huntsmans had donated a large sum to charity.  Seeing the name on the roster of donors, thugs targeted the family sensing they could receive a large ransom.  The FBI was able to locate the boy and return him to the family a few days later ransom-less.  Glen Beck asked Jon Huntsman what they first did when their son was returned and he said, “Well . . . I hugged him and told him I loved him.” 
            Glen added that Jon Huntsman had shared with him at an earlier time that something else was also done.  The Huntsmans had immediately knelt in prayer to thank God for the boy’s safe return and then Jon asked our Father in Heaven that this frightening and terrible experience would not mar their family and make them fear being charitable.  Jon Huntsman did not want his family to quit doing good things simply because bad things could come to them as a result.
            Mr. Huntsman had shared that very personal prayer with Glen Beck a short time ago to encourage Glen to continue to do good even when people successfully used those efforts against him. 
            That story has stayed with me the last couple of weeks.  (A lot of Jon Huntsman stories stay with me, like him donating 30% of his income to charity even when he had his own mortgage.  How can you forget that?)
            A few days ago something bad came about because I post a blog.  If you're a public blogger, you know that can come with the territory, but you're willing to pay the price.  It wasn’t the first time something negative was the result of our blog, but it was the worst time.  In the big scheme of things it isn’t big.  In the middle scheme of things it’s measureable.  My first thought was, “I quit. I’m pulling the plug.  I’m not providing family fodder anymore.  It would be a relief to quit blogging.  I’m through.”
            And then I remembered Jon Huntsman’s story.  
            I’ll never be tempted whether or not $54 million is enough, I’ll never invent something really useful like foam egg cartons.  No, The Neighbor’s Blog will never be brilliantly written or widely read, but it can still do a bit of good by sharing a story or recipe or link or friendship on my dot on the web.  I will learn from Jon Huntsman to not let negativity define my charity.

            The problem with Thursday Thinking posts is that they are just so darn personal.


Susan said...

I'm so so sorry Jane. I'm glad you are sticking with it. You DO make a difference!

Cali said...


I've thought about these stores (yours and the Huntsman ones) over the past few days...

I'm so grateful for how you share your wisdom. You share a story and tell about how it has applied to you and taught you something. Ironically enough, that's exactly what your Thursday Thinking posts are for me.

I'm so grateful you do this blog. I have learned things about and from you that I wouldn't have learned otherwise... even from you... even though you're my mother and I often think I know everything there is to know about you.

That's just it. Thursday Thinking is SOOOO personal and that's what makes it so personal to me.

I love you.


Anonymous said...

I enjoy your stories, the really personal and the basic cookie recipe that occasionally appears, and feel like I get to know pieces of you and your family. thank you. by the way, some days i tell myself to be a little more like jane.

Marcia said...

Remember Anne of Green Gables . . . "If they only knew how much I was thinking but didn't say . . ."

Thanks for all you do to brighten a day anywhere at anytime.

P.S. Whoever is posting put-downs needs to get a life. I recommend they send them to me at I'd be happy to respond:)

Barb said...

I'm sorry the blogging experience took a negative turn for you recently. I appreciate your openness and willingness to share.

Heather @ Multiple Hats said...

Jane - If you ever knew how many of your thoughts were just the ones I needed for that day, I hope it would make you want to continue. Now multiply that by dozens of readers. I hope the good you are you are doing far outweighs the negative when you stop to think about it. Thanks for blogging!

camery said...

mean girls. mean people. they are all going to get theirs someday. in the meantime, keep up the blog. please. i so look forward to reading your posts. and, like katie, i often find i'm willing myself to be more like jane. :)

melanie said...

Yes, you always make a difference in my life. You share, support, encourage and love so many people. I'm not exactly sure how someone could find otherwise. Thank heavens you aren't pulling the plug. Love you! (miss you just as much)

Jill said...

Oh dear, I hate to think of any blogging unpleasantness going on! I have suffered from that a couple times too and it rocked my world for sure. I'm so glad you aren't pulling the plug! You offer brilliant writing and inspiration daily, and I count myself lucky to be one of your readers.

michelle said...

I'm certainly sorry to hear about negative things happening as the result of your blog. That can make you question for sure, and it really hurts. I'm so glad that you are not letting negativity define your charity. You have so much influence for good, Jane!

Really - 30% to charity! That is seriously impressive.

Anonymous said...

I love your wit, wisdom and what you share. I can't imagine anyone having a problem with a site so pleasant.