Monday, June 19, 2017

A FEW TRUTHS I KNOW – To My Beloved Grandchildren

Here are some things I’ve found to be true. You will not be able to wrap these words in your own truth until you are old enough to have seen their meaning for yourself, perhaps many times. But I hope that even a cursory look at them now might help open your heart and mind to them then.

Just because I—or you—know these truths, doesn’t mean they will be easy to live by; for some you will be trying your whole life. Merely caring enough to do so will make you a better person.

                                       ~  //  ~        ~  //  ~        ~  //  ~

  • What you see has more to do with what’s inside you than with what’s right in front of your eyes. People see what they expect to see. Expect beauty and goodness.
  • What you think or say is not who you are. What you do is who       you are.
  • You are not always in control. Sometimes other people get a turn. Often Nature will be in charge. And once in a while there's no choice but leaving it to pure dumb luck.
  • There are some outcomes whose realization depends not on trying harder to make them happen, but on having the patience and faith to LET them happen. You turn them over to a wisdom that’s greater than yours, and you’ll be surprised at how often things turn out for the best.

  • No matter what anyone may say, no matter what the daily news appears to show, the world and our fellow human beings are essentially kind and beautiful. Others have their own reasons for wanting you to doubt this. Don’t listen to them; keep expecting only the best of life.
  • In those rare instances where someone abuses that faith and threatens your health, freedom or peace, fight back as hard as you can. But do so not in fear, but as a wise parent disciplines a child—with calm, confident authority.
  • Attention is a zero-sum game: however many tasks you juggle, the sum total of your focus can never exceed 100 percent. Whenever possible, do one thing at a time and do it all the way.
  • There are many challenges whose solutions may prove to lie just beyond—perhaps even opposite—what you’ve been taught all your life. Welcome those chances to learn new ways; listen to your inborn curiosity, creativity and good instincts.
  • Whatever your spiritual beliefs, a fundamental truth that encompasses nearly all faiths is that none of us is alone. We are as one with every other living creature and with the earth. There is a constant, immutable love in this reality. You are loved by Creation—no matter what.

  • Pain, loss and sadness, like lousy weather, are parts of life. They’re given to us as opportunities to grow and to help. Storms remind us how wonderful the clear, sunny days are.
  • Take care of your body; it’s the only one you’ll ever have. Other people—or even your own emotions—may tempt you to abuse it, but choose instead to listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs.
  • People will have all kinds of opinions and warnings about what’s best for you—always do this; never eat that—but often the best advise is: everything in moderation.
  • Live in the moment as much as possible. Acknowledge the past for its lessons, but do not regret it. Prepare for the future, but do not fear it. The only time that’s real is now.
  • No matter how unsure and self-conscious you may feel, no matter how much you might envy others for being more attractive, accomplished or confident, know that many of them see you in that same way. Few will ever tell you this, but it is the truth.


         Seek a point of view—and a mindset— 

         from which you can see things as if for 
         the first time.
  • Many people tout their “resume” virtues, the strengths they recognize—or would like to recognize—in themselves. And then there are one’s “eulogy” virtues—the strengths others have seen. They are not always the same. Decide by which you want to live.
  • If you’re taught, as I was, to be modest and unassuming you may tend to avoid the limelight, deflect praise, minimize your own accomplishments. But remember, shining your own light—demonstrating your competence, confidence and faith—not only helps others, it just might show them how to do the same.
  • You may well aspire to do amazing things and change the world. But don’t let visions of the great keep you from doing good. To the world, you might be just one person, but to one person you might just be the world.
  • Two things you might think would fall at opposite ends of a scale—of time, size, space or value—might actually lie right next to each other…or even coincide. Large encompasses small; bad includes good; beauty has its ugly side. In every problem lie the seeds of a solution.

  • Honor your parents and grandparents. At times, they may seem to have nothing to do with your life. But, like Nature, they are part of you. Recognize their gifts and pass them on, and know that, no matter how unworthy of it you may feel, their love is unshakable.
  • Part of any child’s job in growing up is to question—and sometimes challenge—their parents’ authority. But your parents are amazing, loving, very smart people who do only what they feel best protects you and keeps you healthy and happy. It is only when you become an adult with children of your own that will you truly understand that.
  • No matter what your age, never let go of your childlike curiosity and wonder. Seek a point of view—and a mindset—from which you can see things as if for the first time.
  • Never stop learning. You may go through a stage in which your education seems like something not of your choosing; you do it simply because it’s expected. But there will come a day when the stakes in learning become yours alone. You choose it because of the places it can take you, or simply because you’d love to know. The sooner, the better. 


Wendy Brown-Baez said...

Wonderful words of wisdom. I especially love "to the world you may be one person..." and we are not alone. However, I'd change the 3rd from last. Not all parents are loving, very smart people: this is particular to your family (and how blessed you are!). I have heard horror stories of adults abused as kids or abandoned, etc. Maybe I would say, your parents will do the best they can with the level of consciousness they have. Or I bet you can put it more eloquently.

Unknown said...

Have to agree with the comment above about parents not being always amazing, loving, very smart people who do only what they feel best protects you and keeps you healthy and happy. And projecting that on others leads to guilt and shame if that has not been their experience. And of course one does not need to honor parents because often their love is NOT unshakeable.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Very good point, Wendy. But you're right -- this was intended to be particular to my family. Though I have counseled quite a few folks who weren't so lucky as my grandchildren are to understand their parents did the best they could. Thanks for the comment.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Unknown -- see my reply to Wendy. This is very personal advice to my grandkids; wasn't trying to project it - nor cast shame - on anyone. Sorry if it caused you pain.

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting One Man's Wonder! I'd love to hear your comments on this post or my site in general.
And please stay in touch by clicking on "Subscribe" below.