As I told the congregation that morning, my method of doing resolutions has been to carry around a little notebook that listed the 13 virtues I was attempting to adopt, as my self-improvement regimen. They were my original resolutions from back in 1726!
Of course, while this method of mine was fine in theory, in practice it didn’t work as well as I would have hoped. Part of my system was to put a black mark on any resolution that I failed to keep, and later, when I improved upon my performance, to erase that black mark.
Well, I have to confess, it didn’t take very long at all to have so many black marks appearing on top of other black marks, that it not only became impossible to erase, but my little book developed so many holes in it from all the erasing, that it became totally useless.
But that didn’t stop me. I went out and obtained a piece of ivory…. much like the white boards used today in schools and businesses. That way, all the accumulated black marks could be easily wiped off with a wet sponge, and I could go on merrily using my system of self-improvement without worrying about destroying any more notebooks. Or so I thought.
As any one of my acquaintances and colleagues could attest, I wasn’t always that great in following my resolutions.
John Adams, in fact, when he stayed with me in France, while we were on our diplomatic mission to obtain support for the revolution, absolutely detested how disorganized I was… so much for Virtue # 3, "let all things have their places."
I also did miserably at Virtues # 2, 5, and 13, as well. (#13 was the virtue of humility, by the way.) I guess I need to pay greater heed to the old proverb, "practice what you preach."
After 307 years, I suppose it's about time for me to buckle down and get it right.
Your humble servant,