What should you do next?

The things we talk about at home with our kids are universally true and transfer to most other relationships at work and everywhere.  This is the premise of our blog and the things we discuss at injustamoment.  Simple things enrich our lives and our relationships.  We like to say it is simple, but still very hard to have healthy rich relationships.

We do things in our home that we call the Talbot Way.  The Talbot Way is discussed most when kids are young, but the value is lifelong.  Our three youngest boys give us a lot of opportunities to teach about the Talbot Way.

The Talbot Way has to do with what Talbots do.  They refer to the qualities attitudes and traditions of our family from silly to important.  Some examples includes treating others like you want to be treated, going to Church and Sunday School, eating the crust on your pizza, frugality and more.

One example of a “Talbot Way” is to ask the question in the subject of this message:

“What should you do next?”

This question is asked most often when someone knowingly misbehaves.  Some examples might include blaming someone else for their own poor choice, not doing a responsibility, or arguing with their sibling.  We get often discover these qualities (and many more) in the behavior of our three boys ages 9, 11, and 12.

When we see these behaviors we ask, “What do you do next?”

The kids answer, “Make a good choice,” not always in a happy voice.

Then we ask, “When should you make a good choice?”

The kids (hopefully) answer, “Right away.”

This is a simple lesson for life.

How much time and energy is spent trying to cover up a mistake or a poor choice?

Yesterday Rob sent out an email to the trustees of his board and all his board community standing committee members.  The email had a number that was wrong.  The error was a difference to the negative of his original content.  The message went out to over 20 influential and important people for Rob’s job!  You never want this sort of thing to happen because it can damage your credibility and influence.  We all need to be reliable and trustworthy when we speak and act.

It would have been possible to shift the blame, make an excuse or irrationally deny the mistake, but Rob needed to make a right choice as soon as possible.  The next morning as soon as he found the mistake he started a new email to fix clear up the mistake.

As soon as the corrected email was sent Rob felt relief .  The relief allowed him to appropriately shift his attention and efforts to the next issue at hand.  It still felt bad to have made the mistake, but hopefully his corrected email will move him toward repairing the damage.

In the end we can’t control the thinking of others.  We can only control our choices.

Rob had a good day and his conscience was clear he made a good choice.  It was so much better than ruminating on what to do or what others might think.  It is possible there are other better choices that he could have made, but perfection is not needed.  Making any good choice will always be better than another poor choice to cover up the problem or procrastination.

What should you do next?

Make a good choice – right away.

stop think decide

Christmas Letter from the Talbots

advent candles Greetings this Christmas Season!

Our family is blessed to have a strong foundation in Christ!  We feel so blessed to be in the family of God!

It seems we are a little late for a Christmas letter and as most people know we have not done one for years.  However, with technology and the fact that we are setting out to use digital communications from here forward this seems to be timely.

The year twenty-fourteen was one for the memories.  Without belaboring the obvious our family is forever changed and has an open spot with the loss of Mom (Ardee Talbot) in June.  We are all trying our best to take care of one another.

So let’s start with the parents and work our way younger…  Rob and Jennifer are busy.   Jennifer works hard tracking and managing the activities of the family.  (This includes keeping Rob on track for home activities as much as all the others.)  She continues to learn and grow into the skills required to advocate for special needs kids.  At the same time she also assists in coaching the Academic Decathlon Club at South Hardin High School.

Rob is having a ball innovating new ministries at Quakerdale.  The goal from the his hire seven years ago has been to separate Quakerdale from dependence on State funding.  There was a new program started this year in Marshalltown, Iowa for homeless women and their children who are transitioning to independence. Another new program is called the Hope4Healing Network connecting people in need with people who have resources.  He also spent a lot of time with leaders innovation planning for the future in many parts across Quakerdale.  God is blessing and directing in great ways and sending wonderful people to join the ministry!


This year Heather decided to step out of her New York Life job in Bloomington, MN and work at a nearby vegetable CSA farm.  She ended up meeting her future husband who is the owner of the farm!  Zach Roth recently proposed and they plan to get married in the Fall 2015.  The wedding will be in the Minneapolis suburbs somewhere.  Maybe on their farm located near Afton, MN.

Daniel is a senior this year and he has been involved in Band, Choir, Swing band, Pep band, Marching band, Speech, Academic Decathlon Team and he had a large role in the school play this fall.  Daniel has been accepted into University of Northern Iowa and plans to pursue an education degree in English.  He might include a minor in Band or vocal education.  Daniel is the tallest in the family today at 6’4″ and growing.

Holly is a freshman this year and has been learning about the faster pace of High School, especially the sports.  She has participated so far in Volleyball, Basketball and will be the pitcher on the JV Softball team.  She is also in Choir, Band and Pep band.  She really enjoys sports and is leaning toward being a Physical Education teacher, but who knows!

Tommy is still a hugger, and he is now 12 and struggling some keeping up developmentally with his chronological age and with his two younger brothers.  He is having some real challenges and always needs prayers on his behalf.  He loves to read and he has a wonderful sweet tooth.  Tommy can usually be trusted for some good conversation and a generous smile.  He loves people.

Matthew is the inventor of the family.  He is always wondering how things work.  He is continually asking for broken things he could take apart to see what is inside.  Matt also struggles developmentally also, but seems to be progressing and seeing some good growth lately.  Matt loves anything his dad does and stays close to him anytime he is around.

Charlie is the artist of the family.  He loves music and is planning to start the Trumpet this next year in his sister’s footsteps.  He sang a duet in the Christmas Eve service tonight and did a great job with one of his friends named Elizabeth.  Charlie is very charming and is doing good.  He loves sports and has a great running stride, so we will see what he ends up doing.

As for family pictures, check out our blog that this is being sent from, and we are planning to do some family pictures soon.  They will get put on the blog site.

We appreciate your love and friendship and look forward to an exciting New Year.   2015 will include Heather’s wedding, Daniel’s high school graduation and Rob and Jennifer’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

Please keep in touch and share your lives with us!

The Talbots nativity

Did you see that?

As a parent of two teenagers I am noticing the end of a phase in parenting.  Teens move from parental support systems to friends taking the prominent role in their lives.  I like it but I miss the times when they looked up to me in the way a child does.

It is hard to be a parent to teens.  The lives of teenagers move fast and I am starting to realize that the days are short and soon they will be on their own. I fondly remember trips in our RV, preschool and Jr. High graduations, music concerts, learning to ride their bikes, and other special times together.  They are times I will never have back again.  Still I don’t think I enjoyed them as well as I could have if I’d have paid better attention.  I’m sure I missed a lot.  What if I’d have noticed more?

Going through this parenting change I want to make memories that will last.   I realize most of the old types of memory opportunities mentioned earlier can’t be brought back.  Vacations with the teens are almost done and so are the daily interactions except when morning and evening paths  cross, church on Sundays and occasional family things.  They have their own agenda now and Jennifer and I move into the background in their lives.

Nostalgic thoughts make me want to do better in appreciation of each moment.  Life continues and we forget to enjoy the things that happen along the way.  I want to value the moments  better. I want to savor them more.

At the same time appreciation for each moment makes me think about work and how I need to do better professionally too.  I want to celebrate success more.   Support employees in difficult and special times more fully.  Those interactions and resulting memories can inform and impact the future.

What I mean is memories of good things give me self confidence, focus and perspective for today plus better vision for the future.  I get to choose if I focus on the good or the bad or if I just forget.  I have realized I do best when I remember the good.  I have to keep moving forward learning and growing from the good and the bad situations I experience.

Instead of crawling along the ground I want to stand up tall above the weeds and see more, notice more, enjoy more.  I pray that this holiday season you and I are able to stand up above the gifts, decorations, family obligations, and events to value the wonder of the season of Christmas and the start of a New Year;  Take notice of the blessings we have been given.

Here is one way to notice more and remember better.  Each night before going to sleep or each morning before starting do two things (or before each team meeting at work).

  1. Name (or write down) three new things you are thankful for  (I call these blessings.)
  2. Consider the things that caused them (In other words why or how they happened or what makes that thing a blessing for you.)
  3. Savor these thoughts and think about them as you proceed.
Are you are feeling down and can’t come up with three blessings.  Start
with just one or ask a friend to help you notice your blessings. You’ll get better.

This technique teaches our brains to be happy and appreciate what we have.  It helps us find the things in life that matter.  When we do this we enrich our mind and our thinking about the future too!

Give it a try for a week and let me know how it goes.

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Here we go…

This is the beginning of the future for our digital exposure to the world.  RJTalbot stands for Rob and Jennifer Talbot. We are the parents of 6 children ages 9 to 26.  Our lives have always been about giving and … Continue reading