Guidelines: Small and Simple Things


Growing up, my dad had a large gate at the entrance to our field. This gate was about 20 feet long and made entirely of welded pipe. It swung freely with the aid of two small but very sturdy hinges.

As boys, my brothers and I would often unlatch the gate and pivot back and forth using the gate as a large swing. Even as young kids, it didn’t take long to realize that if you stood near the hinges of the gate you didn’t travel very far, nor very fast. If you were on the latch end, however, you could experience the wind in your hair and travel a fair distance around the near three hundred and sixty degree radius.

It was a simple law of trigonometry and an easy way to entertain rowdy little boys for half an hour, but the principles can be far reaching. As boys we always looked at the far end of the gate as the prize, and completely overlooked the reality of the situation. Were it not for the small and sturdy hinges, the gate would have collapsed and failed entirely.

I echo this principle to each of us who look around our world and find an evening news channel full of crime, a rural economy in a state of recession, or a presidential campaign rampant with backbiting. We see all of this and wonder: “What can I do? How can I make a difference?”

Like the small yet significant hinges on the gate, we can do our part and do it greatly. We can cling to strong moral principles and hold fast. We can hold up the values of our grandparents and the golden rule and push right from where we stand. We can be the hinges upon which the greatness of our families turn.

As we do the best we can where we can, it may seem like such a small impact is being made. The travel may be slow and the distant seemingly insignificant. But when perspective changes, you will see that things on the other end of your efforts are covering significant ground and gaining speed.

I believe in America, and I believe in our little corner of it, our wonderful Castle Country area. I believe that the heart of America pumps within the walls of her homes; where families eat dinner together, council with one another, and pray before bedtime. I believe that the body of this great land is strengthened when modestly covered by jeans that are the right size, gloves with worn knuckles, brims dyed in sweat and footwear muddied with garden soil. I believe the brain is sharpened in the vast halls of our universities, in the small classrooms of the redbrick schools of rural Utah and through always trying more times than we fail.

I believe that no matter who you are or what you do, you have the ability to turn a great work upon small hinges. Life if good, you can make the difference.

scroll to top