Share Your Lessons

The Legacy Project is devoted to collecting and sharing elder wisdom, and we’d love to hear from you. Please share your lesson in 100-200 words in the comment box below. Feel free to share your own wisdom, or advice that an elder shared with you. 

288 thoughts on “Share Your Lessons

  1. I had the epiphany at ten years old that I was going to die some day. That singular thought has motivated all but two decisions I have made throughout my lifetime. I didn’t go to Japan as a foreign exchange student when I was in college because I was afraid to be away from home for one whole year, and I never went to New Zealand during the filming of “The Lord of the Rings” despite an open invitation from the executive producer, because I didn’t think I could afford it. I deeply regret BOTH of those decisions, so if an opportunity drops in my lap, I’m going take it, because you never know if you will ever have the chance to do it again. I’ve also learned that there are worse things than failing, that each day is a gift, and that you don’t get the chance to do any of it again, so why NOT take chance

  2. Start each day with a thank you, be it through prayer, meditation or simple message to the universe. Smile! it’s hard to be upset when you’re smiling…even if it’s a fake smile, the brain cannot decern between real or fake smiles or laughter…so smile and laugh often. Love…love your family, your pets, your friends and life!

  3. Don’t fixate on past mistakes or happenings. They are past and can’t be changed. Figure out the lesson learned and move on. Always face forward not backwards.

  4. Act through your fears as a matter of practice or your life will be circumscribed by them: introduce yourself, apply for jobs, approach the unapproachable, act independently, be silly, attempt everything, start a movement, make incremental progress through the most odious tasks, tell the truth, say ‘no’, say ‘yes’, say ‘I don’t know”, walk the untrodden path, but if it makes sense walk the trench. Look at your choices and say, “what would I do if I was unafraid?” Take steps to minimize certain risk, and then ACT. This is just as important to do when it comes to saying no to sitting on the couch, as it is when it comes to a matter of life or death.

  5. a major influence in my love “of life is my love of learning…..I have always felt “high’ when I add to my knowledge in whatever category it may be and for most of my 84 years I have never been without participating in a class or group learning, as in a pc club. Or a writer’s group.

    I also love my solitude. A very necessary need for my own space.

    Educating ones self when catastrophic events happen as they will in most lives and seeking others that have experienced that specific trauma. Not that misery loves company but that there is instant bonding if the experience is an uncommon one.

    And the serenity prayer is one of my favorite mantras, I also am naturally a very physical as well as spiritual creature. Life is about more than just survival — it is about finding your bliss, a la Joseph Campbell.

    m l cadrecha

  6. To develop and nurture your intimate relationships to me is the core of life’s joys, loving and being loved, and sharing in the smallest delights: the night sky lit by a full moon, a cardinal flying near your bird feeder, a fascinating news story, a beautiful painting,, a delicate movement of a Schubert string quartet.
    And then having the opportunity to share this with our children and grandchildren and seeing the river of life continue. Nurturing our family members to strive to work in an area that makes each of them happy is also important to me.
    These are the elements that I cherish . And as I age, I try to cherish each day and celebrate each joy, recognizing what is important and ignoring/ minimizing what is not. I am 70 year old and have been in a wonderful, intimate, dedicated marriage for 51 years.
    .

  7. My dear grandmother, who lived to the age of 93 was a major influence in my life.
    She was incredibly giving and loving and had the unique capacity to love with her whole heart each and every family member, equally and unconditionally. She made each member of the family feel so very special, admiring and praising our strengths and accomplishments, rather than focusing on our weaknesses. She taught us by example, about being thoughtful, accepting, and giving. She was loved and cherished by every grandchild, their spouses and all of her great grandchildren. She taught me by the importance of embracing, accepting and loving each new member of the family ( in-laws included). So often family unhappiness and rifts are created by parents and in-laws not loving and respecting their children’s choices of life partners. I am grateful for her wisdom.

  8. Approach to life’s moments of great tragedy:

    My sister lost her son in a tragic accident. Those who loose children or suffer some similar tragedy, speak a ‘language’ that is unique to them. After years on the road after her son’s death she said: “For years I have searched for happiness, now i search for peace”.
    Happiness, she would explain, was for her a fleeting guest, whereas ‘peace’ was more stable and more helpful companion.
    Beneath the surface of so many lives their is a restlessness that is too often ignored. Daily live, throws very frequently, in our face the ‘unpleasantries’ of life. Peace, indeed is a great gift but has to be fought for!

  9. My mother is 88 years young. She has the best attitude and is constantly happy. I don’t know how she does it! I think she should be interviewed for your project. I just heard about it on WGN radio driving home from work. I think that this is a wonderful idea. Despite the fact that she took care of my ailing father for several years, has lost a relationship with a son, she never ceases to seek out others and seems to love all people. I wish I could be more like her.

  10. As Abraham Lincoln said, “I think most people are about as happy as they decide to be”, and I decided a long time ago that being happy and content beat the hell out of the alternative. ACCEPTANCE is the name of the game. The Buddhists (I am one) preach “being here, now” and it is the best advice. GRATEFUL is the other feeling that is crucial to well being. I have been through the ups and downs of life and remain glad to be alive.

  11. At some point in Life, we all realize that we have more living behind us than in front of us, but so what? We still have today and tomorrow. Let’s not waste them. There’s still time to fulfill some of the “could’ve, would’ve, should’ve” dreams and goals of our lives. We should not let them just hang around our necks like albatrosses. Let’s take another gander at them and work on some of them a little, remembering that whatever we do doesn’t have to be perfect…it just has to be. I bet you can think of something right now you could put the finishing touches on. Mine is a story. What’s yours?

    As a mother my advice for my children and the younger generation is simple. Never leave for tomorrow what you can do today. Never hesitate to tell the people you love that you love them and why they are important to you. Remember this quote (sent to me by younger son and posted on my refrigerator door) and from the movie “Strictly Ballroom”: “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.”

  12. My most cherished memory is the train ride from South Dakota to Wisconsin when I was 4.
    My most important value from my parents was honesty.
    My greatest achievement is taking is taking care of foster children-32 in 10 years
    My best lesson is to trust people and forgive.
    A tradition was to get together with family.
    I want to be rembered as a good caring person, a loving wife, and mother.

  13. I am 61 years old. I have seven brothers and we all had a sister, of course we all had the same sister. I am a middle child so some of my brothers are in their late 70’s. Of all of us my sister is the only one to to have passed away. She died of leukemia when she was 50 yrs old. My parents were still alive but it was then that I saw what true courage was.
    Recently I read that people who lose their spouses are called widow or widowers. People who lose their parents are called orphans. But their is no word for parents who lose a child because there is no way to express it.
    My Dad lived to be 82 and my Mom passed away a few years ago at 95 yrs old. My lesson is a quote from her that I dearly love, “You can complain or you can have friends but you can’t do both”. She was a great example of that in the face of lots of heartache and trial.

  14. I heard Dr. Karl Pillemer on Coast to Coast am and I have to say that i’ve learnt a lot from some elders. I’m a young lady at 18 years of age and i’m one that doesn’t get along with people my age but on a regular basis I go out to different places like pubs and so on with the same older men all the time, and whom are around the age of 58. I think they are facinating to hear talk and i’ve noticed that they seem to be a lot more negative. The older men that i’ve talked to, all seem to be more close minded but they know how to have a fun time as well with their peers and so on. But I find it strange that the only people I can get along with are men in their 50’s plus and i’ve learnt a great amount from being around them and that when your young you have an unlimited amount of opportunity as long as you work hard at something.

  15. Regarding your Ask Amy letter on the five tips for a long and happy marriage, the one on “forget about changing someone after marriage” suggests one that is as important as the others: “Know how to change yourself.” In my own case, I undertook a long slow process of introspection in order to get a handle on my faults, of which I had many; and then to modify my personality so as to eliminate these faults. With the help of my wife, who, at my request, pointed out examples of my negative behavior, I have been successful at accomplishing significant improvements; although I am still a work in progress. My wife, on the other hand, had her own faults, that, unfortunately, she brought into our marriage. My pleadings notwithstanding, she stubbornly refuses to do anything; I have given up trying. The result has been a corrosive effect on our marriage, so that it is all but destroyed. What is required for a marriage to thrive is for each partner to be not only committed, as you point out, but to be dedicated and to do the necessary hard work that it sometimes takes.

  16. “How to Realize Your Dreams with the One You Love.” That was the short essay I wrote after my husband, Jack, and I took off on an adventure in 1988 to buy a barge in France and convert it to a charter barge for 4 passengers. It was stressful, to say the least, with renovating the barge, learning to maneuver a 90 foot vessel, adapting to a foreign culture and language and being cheerful and capable for our guests. It was also a blissful time of learning to work together in a practical yet loving way. We learned lessons that serve us to this day. 1. Be respectful of the other even if we don’t agree. 2. Don’t take emotional outbursts personally. 3. Always listen to the other’s point of view. 3. Have fun and enjoy the journey. 4. Stay focused on the goal. 5. Celebrate the highs and share the lows. I could go on and on. Thanks for the opportunity to remember this after all these years.

  17. I read a news article about 10[?] suggestions gleaned from your project and found myself in complete agreement. Elaine [BSN, Cornell Nursing, ’53; BA, Biol. and English ’70 and MA, English ’73, Bemidji State Univ.] and I met at Cornell when she was a freshman coed [two non-pc terms now] in Fall ’48, and had celebrated 58 years when she died during Christmas break, 2010.

    Is there a way I can send two articles about us that I published in my monthly column in our daily, The Bemidji Pioneer?

  18. I have been a widow for almost 10 years now and it was hard to go own after the death of your soul mate. Very hard to talk to your friends and they always say I’m sorry about your husband why don’t everyone try to cheer them up and do thing together that don’t remind her of her husband and maybe she can go on with her life. It is so hard to change your life not to include your loved one. You know laughter is good for you. a smile from a friend a funny joke any thing that you think will cheer them up. I have tried this on a friend who recently lost his wife and my good friend and it works. seriously yall

  19. I will be 84 years this month, and am proud of it. I have 8 daughters and one son, 17 grandchildren. I lived in Asia for 10 years altogether when my husband worked for the CIA. However since he spent years in Vietnam, I was raising the children alone.
    He died of cancer in 1980, and I moved from Annapolis to Sullivan Co., NY, a total leap into the blue, with two youngest. Five daughters were living in Manhattan then. I basically live alone, but am active in community. For 26 years secretary to our Civic Assn., which has accomplished an amazing amount, all volunteer. For 22 years I have been facilitating 3-day workshops for Alternative to Violence Project in 3 NY State prisons, a real blessing in my old age, also volunteer. I cross country ski, canoe on Delaware River, have vegetable garden, plus more. Was a trail maintainer for 20 years. I am a practicing , but critical, Catholic, feel life is to enjoy, but have a great responsibility to care for others. I could go at great length about my experience going into prison, and AVP needs volunteers! At this point in my life, I am slowing down and plan to move back to Md., where 4 of my children are, none are up here. I would welcome response.

  20. I read the “Honor your vows” lesson of “Eugene Earnhart” as abstracted in The Week and disagree strongly with his conclusion that “Faithfulness is one of the most improtent things that people should cling to.”
    Pity poor Eugene. He lives to regret what were probably some of the most exciting moments of his life. He denies his own humanity [sexuality] and espouses a standard thrust upon him by others [parents, church?].
    Eugene misses the point: it is not faithfulness that matters, it is honesty. If Eugene had had the courage to be honest to his wife about his infidelities, he might have discovered that she shared the same trait [if only she too were honest enough to tell him]. And if they had done that, they may have discovered a new excitement in their own mutual sex life. He may have come to understand that his wife, like himself, enjoyed sex and was more than just a dutiful, faithful, stay-at-home.

  21. When a Philadelphia sports team wins a championship, be sure to cherish the moment. This truly can be a once in a lifetime event!

  22. My mom once told me to be sure to do whatever you think you want to do NOW because when you get old you may not be able. It’s advice that I live by. If I want to do it, I do it now. I don’t wait. As a result, I have lived a very full and joyous life! If I die tomorrow, I can say, I had a blast! For example, I’ve lived in international markets – Holland & Bermuda, visited multiple countries including London, France, Belgium, and Canada, traveled across the U.S. from California to New York to Florida and Seattle; eaten foods from around the world; met people from all nationalities and walks of life; and have seen the glory of God on this earth. It really has been special, in spite of life’s most difficult moments, I have such fond memories of all those experiences. Wouldn’t change it for the world. In fact, if I’d have to really sit tight long enough to create a bucket list. Maybe I will, when I’m done living life.

  23. First, appreciate that which you have. Take advantage of opportunities to laugh and sing. Stay active socially and physically. Decide to be happy. Finally, as stated in the 1947 song “Nature Boy”, Remember, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

  24. My father died a couple of years ago at age 92. He was truly a member of “The Greatest Generation”. At his service , I read the following list of life lessons my brother, sister and I learned from Pop:

    +EXERCISE EVERY DAY
    +DON’T WASTE MONEY, OR ANYTHING ELSE
    +BE KIND TO CHILDREN AND ANIMALS
    +KEEP YOUR SHOES SHINED
    +WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, FIX IT, LEARN FROM IT AND MOVE ON
    +FEED THE TROOPS FIRST
    +ALWAYS ORDER THE NEXT TO CHEAPEST THING ON THE MENU
    +KNOW HOW TO DRIVE A STICK SHIFT
    +RESPECT YOUR MOTHER
    +GENTLEMEN DON’T SWEAR IN FRONT OF LADIES
    +LEAD BY EXAMPLE
    +WORK HARD – AND OFTEN
    +TAKE VACATIONS, BUT DON’T TRAVEL FIRST CLASS
    +ALWAYS HAVE MORE THAN ONE IRON IN THE FIRE
    +ONLY BUY WHAT YOU CAN PAY FOR
    +DON’T PROCRASTINATE
    +USE PRONOUNS CORRECTLY
    +TAKE THE HIGH ROAD
    +NEVER ARGUE WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS
    +IF YOU SAY IT, DO IT
    +DISCIPLINE IS A POSITIVE ACTION, NOT A NEGATIVE REACTION
    +IF HE SAID SOMETHING WAS WRONG WITH HIM, IT WAS
    +NEVER THROW AWAY A PAINT CAN IF THERE IS AT LEAST AN INCH OF PAINT LEFT
    +ONLY BIG DOGS COUNT – IRISH WOFLHOUNDS ARE THE BEST
    +HONESTY IS NOT THE BEST POLICY – IT IS THE ONLY POLICY
    +SAY “THANK YOU” FOR ALL THINGS, GREAT AND SMALL
    +ALWAYS LABEL YOUR PHOTOS
    +NO ONE HATES WAR MORE THAN THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN IN ONE
    +STAND UP STRAIGHT
    +LIVE WITH DIGNITY AND HONOR
    +VOLUNTEER
    + GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY

    SARA TEMPLETON POWELL 11-6-2010

  25. my cousin had 5 E’s on his 10th grade report card . his mom asked me to help. but I was in maryland and he was in michigan. We set up yahoo messenger account.We could see and hear each other .three times a week we spent 1-2 hours on lessons. there was a board we both could write on, helpful with math problems, and the cam could focus on pages of the homework. we continued thru 10th and 11th grades. the 12 th grade he was on his own and graduated.
    same program could be use by retired and schoolchildren.
    BENEFITS : the senior can spent one hour with students without having to dressup ,drive to a location, use gas, and without consdering the weather. all the time senior could give, would be instructing the students. There would be no unacceptable physical contact between grownups and children.

  26. I dislike the word “retirement” — as used in our society it means to be non-productive, to be on the fringe. I have moved through several “careers” in my life and am now in
    the phase of sharing some of my passions. I teach Tai Chi at a yoga studio, film appreciation in the continuing ed program at William and Mary, and am chair of the Program Committee at our synagogue. Last summer I spent 3 weeks touring parts of Italy (for the first time), 2 weeks on my own and the last week with my 19-year-old granddaughter. Oh, I celebrated my 81st birthday last December.

    Got to run — I have a lunch date with a friend.

  27. As a young man I was a rebel without a pause, in constant motion in search of Nirvana, namely eternal bliss and happiness.

    My youthful quest took me around the world—twice! I sailed across stormy, windswept oceans, climbed mountains, dove under the sea, crossed deserts, rafted rivers, jumped out of airplanes (with a parachute, of course). And after all was said and done I always ended up with that same old hollow feeling of disappointment and self-reproach at not discovering eternal bliss.

    One day, as a more mature adult, I awoke to a startling revelation. Nirvana doesn’t exist. Instead my life, if I so choose to believe, is a rich tapestry made up of spontaneous moments of joy, or what I’ve come to call SMOJs, pronounced smah-gez. And they exist all around me.

    A SMOJ for me is as simple as fetching my newspaper from the bottom of the driveway every morning while taking in my first deep breaths of fresh air. Or wrapping my fingers around that first cup of hot coffee while reading the news. Or kissing my wife good-bye when she leaves for work.

    And so it goes throughout the course of my day. The trick is that it’s my responsibility to identify and appreciate these disparate and isolated moments for the true joy they bring.

    Of course there are times when I lose my focus, and unwittingly allow the blues or anger or frustration to get the best of me. But the beauty of this homespun SMOJ philosophy is that it more often that not allows me to focus on the positive rather than the negative things that are going on in my life. It helps center me.

    I believe as a result of my focus on SMOJ’s I’ve become a better, more tolerant and appreciative person.

  28. I am 27 years old this year, a Ph.D student. There are many task to do every day. I woul like to say something regarding life. Life is short. We cannot change its length but we can increase its width. We are supposed to do more things for society and family in our finite life.

  29. Find the poetry in life. Acknowledge the gift of the five senses and focus on what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you touch, what you taste.

    This morning I looked past the yellow, white and orange spring pansies on the deck to the fox hole dug into the hillside. The four kits poked their heads out daringly as the mother fox stood guard.

    I filtered the world’s news to hear of the children romping at the White House scooping their colored hard-boiled eggs down the South Lawn. I listened for the resurgence of a dream as at 46 someone competes in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

    I smelled the rich Irish cream coffee brewing in the kitchen as my feet touched the chilled wood floor. I wrapped myself in my comfortable fleece bathrobe and bit into the warm, buttered wheat toast.

    To see, to hear, to smell, to touch, to taste with clarity and discernment—that is the poetry at each turn.

    Age 63

  30. Too many people today are looking for someone to love them. Stop expecting others to do for you what you can’t do for yourself. Learn to love yourself.

  31. I forgot how old I was and I fell in love.My life is fuller now then ever before.I am truly blessed with the love of a man who is 86, I am 76.We are true soul mates in sharring our love as well as our days together.Every day is special and we take it and use it.I would not trade this time in my life for anyother time, past or present.
    Love the day,

    Margo

  32. Per article by Maggie Faeli Fard Buffalo News dated 4-17-2012
    RE: Karl Pillager’S research
    I found your article very interesting. At times I had unnecessary anxiety about the aging factor. Being that I am 76 I always said, “Gee, in four years I will be 80!”
    A lot of my friends I worked with have passed away.
    . My Mother died at age 48 and my father died at age 58, and one of my sisters died from Alzheimer’S. I have had a lot of setbacks in my life thus far. I had a heart attack at age 58, (the same age my father had one and passed away,) followed by heart surgery, and then a stroke a month later.
    I put in 34 years on a major police department and have survived quite a few serious events while working in that capacity. I went back to school at a late age while I was working tor the police department and managed to obtain a degree in Philosophy. I retired from the department in 1995 after my heart surgery. I even wrote a book about my experiences.
    Just last year I found out that I had cancer and wrote a poem about my feelings at that time.
    I have taken the liberty to enclose it.
    The Beast Within
    I know that you are in there
    But I feel you not
    I just now feel the scare
    Of you all curled up in your dark spot
    You have taken the young and the old
    As you eat away inside
    As you keep your hold
    To take a life you will decide
    There is no known cure at this time!
    I was lucky you were found in time!
    Now you will await the surgeon’s knife
    As this is the only answer
    To cut away your life
    We know the beast name Cancer.
    During this time period I went through months of anxiety. I met with a surgeon who was to cut away the cancer on my colon. He performed more tests before the surgery. And then…The remarkable news that my Cancer was now gone.
    But listen to me, I find that I am still enjoying life to the fullest.
    I joined a gym and work out three times a week. Of course the odd thing was that younger persons held the door for me when I entered or left the gym, leaving me feeling my age…
    I took up lessons in bowling and golf by professionals.
    I have been to Hawaii, Vegas, New York, and several trips to Disney in Orlando, thereby watching the children enjoy themselves, while on these trips.
    In closing, I wish to say that I have a wonderful wife, seven great children, twelve grandchildren and one great grandchild.
    So, life goes on and everyone walks to the beat of a different drummer. My walk on this journey is fine, thank you very much!
    Sincerely,
    Michael Chernetsky
    350 E. Hazeltine Ave.
    Kenmore, New York 14217
    Phone 716-874-0781
    E-Mail balihaivil @ aol.com

  33. Getting “old” is just a word. From 60 to 75 my mantra was “if you can’t fix it … don’t worry about it”. Now at 77 and aging rapidly my mantra is “not my problem” …. and being able to walk away without any regrets. Family has always been the spark of my life … my children and especially my grandchildren. They are all the JOY of my living. Most importantly … I thank the Universe everyday for all the blessings in my life.

  34. Thank you Michael! What would life be if we didn’t cause problems to solve? Nothing, I think. Esctacy, bliss, emptiness. My life too has been anything but empty. Full, full, full. It’s such an adventure. For me, I was raised in the ’50’s, I married young, had two children before I was 24, divorced at 30, remarried at 35, helped to raise some more kids, divorced at 47, when I began a long awaited career in the arts, which was stalled by throat cancer, the loss of my voice and then 7 years later lung cancer, which I’m 8 years in remission from. But I found the way to turn a tragedy into a triumph, and use my art and writing to share my life’s lessons. Especially for my 7 year old grandson, who yet has a clue about what he’s in for….and it’s a good thing! Best to you in your journey to eternal bliss….

  35. Wow, what a piece of hope! I’m 68 and have been single since I divorced at 47 from my second husband. Love is everywhere I’ve found, and even if I don’t end up sharing it again, my life is rich with creativity and family. Much happiness to you and your new love….

  36. Conscious awareness of the small but significant part I play in the experience called Life grows continuously and profoundly when I am attentive, present, and open. Youth defies this byproduct of aging – as it should. It’s function is to create the problems only we can solve, to discover they’re all common problems – to be loved, to be safe, to be authentically ourselves.

  37. I offered to clean out my cousin’s box of old photos and letters. I discovered one letter from her father, my uncle, written to her at age 20, shortly before he suffered from a massive stroke in his early fifties. In the letter he advised her “to seek and value the advice of older and more experienced people of her own choosing.” She struggled with decisions on transferring colleges, following a boyfriend and participating in 1971 counterculture activities. He continued, “You will be happy when you have accomplished your goals and are successful in what you will be doing. We know you for a long time and nobody changes her basic character after age six, as you well know.” My cousin had lots of spunk as a little girl and now is a very successful business woman, wife and mother. I’m glad she saved this letter and her father who died in 1983 would be very proud of her.

  38. It is sad and regrettable that my marriage did not last after raising three great children. But instead of boring friends and hoping for sympathy, find interests you have longed to pursue which are open for you, now that the adult children are on their way.

    At age 51, I moved to San Diego, took sailing lessons, tennis, and art lessons, putting them all to use. I got a job for a great company, but when the company closed, I had to change careers at age 63. After classes in Travel, I worked as a Travel Agent and had the opportunity to travel the world for the next 17 years.
    Now, at age 88 and living in a retirement community, I am enjoying watercolor painting.

    Life has much to offer if you do not let disappointments get you down and feel sorry for yourself. Get out and explore the many opportunities there are for you.

  39. All relationship problems arise from a breakdown in the loving connection between two people. There will always be some negative emotions that have not been expressed in the relationship – it is the fear associated with these, usually unconscious, feelings that destroys the relationship. The unexpressed feelings cause us to separate from our partner because we do not want them to see our negative side in case they reject us. Ironically, this is exactly what our protective strategy brings about!

  40. Life and everything in it,
    is a gift from the infinite mind;
    and the only way life could go wrong,
    is through the limited finite mind!

  41. Stop PROCRASTINATING, boy, I wish I had known how important it was to just ‘do it now’ and nowthat I’m an elder (only 66) I know I wasted DO much time putting things off.

  42. I am just turning 71 years old and have acquired much wisdom over time. There are two very important lessions that I I would like to share.
    First, Stand back and discover the wonder of your child. Each soul is a distinct entity; it can be old or young and has come with God-given gifts and a mission to grow in their spirit while here. In small native cultures, each child was observed and their natural abilities discovered and encouraged. All of these natural gifts were invauable to the community in some way.
    Second, teach your child to question everything. The hand that rocks the cradle can rule the world, the old saying goes. Our world and the way we live is broken in many ways and the children should be encouraged to find new pathways to healthier lifestyles. Lifestyles that will cherish diversity, honor our Earth Mother, the world, and allow for peaceful coexistance of all cultures and lifeforms.

  43. Whatever it is you want to do, go ahead and do it. Whether it’s learning a new skill, taking a new class, going on an adventure, finding a new love, do it now. There’s no time to waste, and after all, whether you do it or not, you’ll still be just that little bit older tomorrow, next month, next year. Why not be older with verve?

  44. Be certain of this: happiness is not the result of smiling, or being positive, or winning or having. Happiness comes from embracing life. “YESSSS!!” is the throaty hiss of rapture. Turn towards it like a compass and “no” will always be behind you. Embrace the depth of your sorrow, the challenge of your loss, the strength of your will as it crosses the bridging fear. Embrace the wonder of creative impulses to catch and transform what is discarded. Embrace the power of salvation in walking toward paths and people and places that do not harm, but embrace. Embrace the wonder that is yourself, your history, your eyes and heart as they take in every moment of now.

  45. In Robert Frost’s poem “Out, Out,” a young man dies tragically, and for a moment all those around him are affected by the tragedy of his loss. Yet soon, “…they, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.”

    I recently lost my brother, and in the gathering at his funeral the members of our family were, for a time, more closely united with one another and with the deeper wisdoms of life than we had been for quite some time. We felt our kinship, and the transitory nature of life. We considered the legacy of the one lost, and wondered what essence of worth and goodness we ourselves would leave behind. We searched for that worth in a history too often filled with days of mundane business and busyness. And for a brief time we connected with each other, and deeper truths about love, and service to others, and humility, and faith.
    But soon we returned to our mundane affairs, our busyness, our separations, our self-absorbed pursuits. My wisdom is this: live a good life today; give and receive selfless love; serve others – so that when you come to a time of reflection you can say: “I have made good choices. I have lived, and loved, and been loved, and served others well.” It will make all the difference.

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