Lessons I would like to pass onto the next generation

One of the things I have noticed about getting old is while faculties may be in decline, compared with yesteryear, you would have picked up a lot in the years preceding, which if you had taken on board earlier could have made a big difference. Not that you can turn the clocks back or expect a sympathetic audience, but you can pass on your wisdom to those who come after, although this is best done by setting an example and gently encouraging. In no particular order, these are some of the lessons I have learned and still learning that I would like to pass on to the next generation, especially the youth, who will give me an ear, bearing in mind my experience is not the same as anyone else’s, and those we want to encourage will operate in different circumstances, yet will have different abilities and interests, and different hopes and aspirations. I am also mindful this is not a definitive list and others might add that which is of value. Some of the lessons learned have been painful yet beneficial.

  1. Being kind is more important than being successful
  2. It is better to give than to receive
  3. Having good character is better than having good anything else; and being honourable is worthwhile even if it costs you.
  4. Deferred gratification generally reaps benefits in the long run
  5. Nothing is for certain in this life (except death and taxes)
  6. Life really is short – ask any oldie; most will clearly recall their vigorous youth
  7. Value your loved ones while they are still alive
  8. The things that are most precious in life are invariably the most simple and often free
  9. Good manners costs little and invariably reap dividends
  10. Don’t be a respecter of persons; whether their status is high or low, all deserve our respect
  11. Try to learn practical skills; you never know when they will come in useful
  12. The vagaries of life are such that one day you may be rich and the next day poor; one day you may be well and the next day sick; one day you are the go to person for advice and the next day no-one wants to know; one day you are honoured and recognised and the next day ignored; one day you are alive, the next day you are dead
  13. Get a well rounded education, observe and read widely; keep on learning right up to the end and even then you will know just a little; and whatever your learning level remember you can uniquely contribute to the common good; use your gifts
  14. Develop a career and ideally one you can do best in
  15. Start to invest in the future, including financially
  16. Follow your dreams but don’t ignore the realities of the present
  17. The world is divided into three groups: fools, villains and good guys (or mixtures thereof) and who can be sure which is which
  18. Recognise little is what it seems and you will likely be biased anyway, even inadvertently, and you may not possess all the facts
  19. Try to understand the other person’s point of view even if you disagree, you might still learn something; try to live in peace
  20. There will be times you feel hard done by, but some are worse off than you (most if you live in the West), for life is not fair
  21. Take each day as it comes; make the most of it; don’t dwell on the past or put off to tomorrow what should be done today
  22. Learn to be humble and avoid being proud for pride does come before a fall, and if you do fall you can be picked up and then is the time to take stock and move on
  23. Try to complete the tasks that you have begun
  24. Learn to forgive others – you will be unjustly dealt with in life but it is better to forgive than carry the unforgiving burden
  25. Learn to forgive yourself – you will make mistakes, sometimes big ones – try to see these as opportunities to grow
  26. See all of life as a learning curve; learn from the past and use lessons learned to prepare you for the future
  27. Triumph and disaster (and who can say what comes next) are two imposters to be treated just the same
  28. Memorise the Bible – the fount of so much true wisdom
  29. Learn to love God – therein lies the secret to what truly matters; reflect how wonderful it is to be a child of God, loved by Him. His desire is toward you, even when you have blown it.
  30. Remember the other great command is to love your neighbour, whoever he/she is.
  31. Things are often not what they seem so learn to question (almost) everything and not to be taken in even if your information / perception source is ever so credible.
  32. I learned Murphy’s law (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong) as a youngster and over the years have seen it played out on countless occasions; so while one’s inclination might be to be audacious, one ought hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

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