To Keep In Mind

Hero and I have created our home rules over the past few years…we’ll probably add more, and tweak these, but I’m fairly happy with them for now.  They’re not really rules in my mind, more statements of things worth remembering.  I thought I’d share them.

1) Different people have different needs at different times.  Plan accordingly.

My mother is the master of seeing individual needs and working to meet them.  At one point she had five children attending four different schools because that’s what we needed.  Hero’s parents were not so inherently flexible, and the first time I verbalized this rule it blew his mind.  That’s why it’s first.

2) δW = δQ – dU + Θ

This is an adaptation of the first rule of thermodynamics, also called the conservation of energy.  Arranged this way, it says that work done by a system (δW) equals the energy added to the system (δQ) minus the energy lost to internal friction (dU) plus theta (Θ).  My mom and I use Θ as a symbol for God when we are writing quickly (it’s the first letter of the Greek work for God) and I added it to symbolize God and love and all the other things that get in the way of purely logical behavior.  In my head, this “rule” is a reminder to treat others with gratitude and grace, remembering that no one has infinite energy, that accomplishing things takes work, that some energy has to be saved for internal needs, and that without God and love it’s a very icky prospect.

The first law of thermodynamics reminds us that you don’t get something for nothing.  The God-factor reminds us that sometimes grace happens anyway.

Yes, I know I’m crazy.

3, 4, and 5 are all parts of each other, and mostly rise out of my annoyance with various friends and their overly-dogmatic politics:

3) Humans are humans, not avatars or archetypes.

I get really annoyed when people act as if a person is the embodiment of good, or evil, or the constitution, or whatever.  Most people, leaders included, are just trying to do the best they can.

4) Understand both sides of an argument before choosing a stance.

At a party a few years ago, a friend was holding forth on some political issue – drilling in Alaska, I think.  At one point he said “who cares if a few moose die, or whatever it is they’re worried about.”  That statement appalled me.  He didn’t know?  He hadn’t bothered to find out what the consequences might be before deciding?

5) Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Hanlon’s Razor, which I came across on  It struck me as entirely sensible.

So those are our things worth remembering.  What do you try to keep in mind?

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2 Responses to To Keep In Mind

  1. 1) Make sure I bring a snack, and a water bottle. And if I, or someone I love seems grumpy, first determine if I/they have missed a regular feeding time, then wonder about daily medication. If something has been missed, do not take the grumpyness personally, just help fix it.

    2) Health comes first. If I, or someone else doesn’t feel well, sit down, stretch out, take a break. If that doesn’t help, go home, take a nap, find a heating pad, eat some ice cream, whatever. There is no sense in sitting there miserable and in pain.

    3) Get out and do things, even if I don’t want to. While I may enjoy staying in and baking bread, it’s also important to take a walk, or go to the store. A mix of both is healthiest for me.

    You might enjoy reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project (there’s both a book and a blog). My boy couldn’t get through it, because at times she comes off as whiny and ridiculous, but none the less I think you might enjoy her journey, and some of the things she learned.

  2. I absolutely agree on the grumpiness thing. I’m still working on getting Hero to bring me a cup of milk if I’m clearly low on blood sugar (he didn’t grow up with the concept, so it takes him a while to identify it) but it usually does fix things when he does.

    Someone else mentioned The Happiness Project recently – alphamom, maybe? Sounds like I should check it out, though admittedly I also have little patience with whining.

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