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My Point of View: Parable taught relates to local political parties, too

My Point of View by Robert Hoffman

Spring and Easter’s positive feeling of anew remind me of my favorite parable I was taught in confirmation class at Grace Lutheran Church in the early ’90s. It is about a jar, walnuts and rice. The jar represents us and the walnuts and rice our needs and wants. This parable challenges us to fill the small jar with all the walnuts and all the rice, together. This sets up the example of leading a life of balance between what we need to accomplish and what we’d like to enjoy. In my confirmation class’s example, the walnuts represented the Ten Commandments and the rice represented everything we’d like to enjoy in life. The story shows that if you try to fill the small jar with just the rice first, or lead a life only of goofing off, there is not enough space to also put the walnuts in and the parable’s challenge is failed. It is soon understood that by adding the walnuts first (having core values) and then adding the rice around the walnuts everything the parable challenges us to do is accomplished. This gives us the example that if you take care of what you need to in life, room is also left to balance things out with what you’d like to enjoy as well.

Robert Hoffman

Earlier this month I was elected as our Freeborn County chairman, and I am proud and honored to be trusted to serve. Our past chairman stepped down because he was elected as a county commissioner and is already serving our community as well as he did our board. As a team we did not lose a single election in 2020 under his guidance as we served together. We have other past chairs that still serve with us also and can already start to identify our potential future chairs. We have many who have served a long time, and we have a lot of new people serving with us. We are welcoming and always invite more.

Our small jar has an amazing balance of elected officials in it of U.S. Congressman Jim Hagedorn and state Sen. Gene Dornink, and we are especially proud that during the March celebration of Women’s Appreciation Month that we can celebrate the matriarch of Freeborn County politics, the woman who is the reason for the political success in our county, our state Rep. Peggy Bennett. Not just locally, even our state Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan is the first Asian-American chairwoman. Our state Chairwoman Jennifer is a friend who visits Albert Lea often. Our jar is diverse and awesome.

As our new chairman, I invite more citizens to participate and serve with us. Contact us with ideas or the simple appreciated kindness of sending a donation. We have great elected officials representing and serving us, but what are some of our other core values? (What other walnuts are in our jar?) Just for example, we have a very active board (though I am rather off-put knowing that I am the oldest person serving on it now.) We actually learned we have more females than we thought; a board member just found out her and her husband are having their first daughter. Our board is now, “plus-one!”

Along with our great elected officials, an amazing state chairwoman and a fantastic local team, we are strong supporters of our Second Amendment rights, we have fun (I am, afterall, the chairman), we lead by example that we value equality having a board of diverse men and women (though, again, all younger than me), we proudly “Back the Blue” and appreciate our local law enforcement teams, we value and support our small businesses,  we know we are strong enough to succeed on our own merits and skills, we have great relationships with our community’s leaders and we are each active in more than just politics. Just to name a few things. Our jar is balanced but not full. We have met one of life’s challenges, finding a great balance, and we are prepared to maintain it as we invite others to add to our little jar.

In contrast, the Minnesota DFL’s longtime state chairman directs his locals to attack us daily. He even does so himself in our Albert Lea Tribune. His leadership is reflected by their constant negativity and not taking the time to celebrate their own (and not winning a single race in Freeborn County.) This is why so many negative letters flood our newspaper — they’re told to do so. I think they could use a little work on their jar, walnuts and rice project. The parable I shared shows we can’t successfully find a good balance by just dumping the rice in the jar first — some have shown us they won’t be successful because they’re just nuts.   

Robert Hoffman is a married, 43-year-old lifelong resident of Albert Lea, small business owner and the new Freeborn County Republican Party chairman.