Do What You Should

A woman reading the Christopher column, “Three Minutes a Day”, in the HOUSTON POST, was deeply affected by the story of the mail carrier who began hiding some of his mail on what he called “heavy days”. On days when there was an unusually large amount of mail to deliver, he would hide some of it, intending, he later said, to deliver it on “lighter days”. But, of course, those days never came around. At the end of a year, postal authorities finally caught up with the careless mail carrier and uncovered more than 10,000 letters that had not been delivered.

You can imagine what a mess these letters, not having been delivered, caused – the pain, the heartache, and, in the case of checks, the actual hardship.

The point of the column was that each of us is expected to deliver what he should be delivering every day, and the closing words of the Christopher column were: “Take care not to deprive others of what is rightfully theirs, regardless of how much inconvenience it may cost you”.

Well, one woman who had read this column wrote to the Christophers and said, “Your short column on the lazy mail carrier has reached me and changed me after a battery of doctors and counselors failed to make me see any reason for altering a sloppy, undisciplined life”.

“I know in my heart,” she continued, “that I can never again sit down on the job with that thought to haunt me. My husband and children will have a clean house today, and the column is pasted over my sink where I can’t fail to see it when the dishes begin to gain on me”.

You know, that’s a terrific story. If each one of us would do what we know we should do when the time comes to do it – and not put it off and let it pile up until it overwhelms us and we sort of give up – we’d be a whole lot better off.

A woman will put off mending something until she has enough to make the job worthwhile. And once she forms the habit, she keeps letting it pile up until she’s got a stack of mending you couldn’t see over if you sat on a tall horse. Then she starts picking out the things she actually has to do and works on them, while new ones keep piling up. If she’d taken care each of them as they came along, she’d be even with the board.

Men, lots of them, are the same way – they’re procrastinators. “Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow”, is their slogan. You’ll find it often in business, as well as things that should be done around the house.

In my case, whenever there’s something that needs doing around the house or yard, I get my son on it right now! If there’s something wrong with the plumbing, or a door, or a light switch, I call a plumber, carpenter or electrician. I don’t let those things wait.

Two years ago, I decided to build a patio. I got some plans of various sorts and started looking at all the different kinds of patios a person could build. I even got an architect friend of mine to draw some terrific plans for me. Naturally, I don’t want to do a sloppy job, so I’m still studying the plans and trying to figure out the best way to build that patio. I really think that by next summer I’ll be ready to begin.

All kidding aside, that story about the postman should teach us all something about the importance of doing what we should do – when we should do it. It makes for peace of mind and a feeling of worth.

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