I believe in and recognize the dangers of sloth. Many of my own choices in life have been decided by this deadly sin. Sloth is spiritual or physical laziness. The sloth that I have face in my life has been the physical kind. My sloth is the type that keeps you from turning in a paper for school or from doing your chores around the house.
I fear that uncontrollable circumstances may have placed me in a set of mind that strives for nothing without outside influences. What follows is by no means an excuse for my sloth but how I would explain it looking back from where I am now. I was born five years after my older brother and six years after my older sister. This presented a difficult challenge for my parents. They found themselves asking “how do you raise a child alongside children who are partially grown?” You try your best, that’s the only real way to do it. You raise your youngest to respect his siblings and the older children to not torture the younger. Rarely do either the older or the younger siblings follow these rules.
It didn’t happen all of a sudden. All the same though I slowly found the only way to survive was through inactivity. For example, I would annoy my older brother. He would threaten me with physical harm and I would tell Mom that he threatened me. Then my mother would get the whole story from David, my brother, and tell me to go to my room. Two things happened here, I stopped annoying my brother because I didn’t want to be threatened and I stopped telling on him to avoid time out. This continued as I grew up and by the time I was in middle school I had become almost completely passive. I made myself lazy in an attempt to shelter myself from the people I was close to. I started hanging out with my bad friends instead of doing my homework and I would let them tell me what to do. I had almost no opinion unless I knew that what I was asked to do was bad. This trend continued all the way through middle school until the first day of high school. I stopped hanging out with the people I hung out with in middle school. All of a sudden I was making my own decisions because there was almost no pressure from my new friends. It was amazing.
Even now I still commit sloth every so often. It’s so dangerous because by the time you realize that you are just coasting through life it’s gone. You lose so much from doing so little. You look with remorse on conversations you could have had, laughter you could have shared, and love you could have given.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.