I’m at that stage of life when I am sorting, organizing and eliminating clutter in preparation for moving out and on. Digging through boxes stored away for years, I am making so many discoveries. In the process, I read everything. Forgotten memories are stirred up. Letters to and from friends and relatives remind me of past relationships, events, losses and achievements. Among all that paper, I’ve come across notes I wrote to my children to help guide them through life. They grew up into loving, responsible, caring adults, now parents themselves. Hoping they will share this with their children, written from the heart and unedited, here is one of the letters I wrote to them decades ago:
LETTER TO MY CHILDREN
Discover your whole person.
Draw upon your inner resources.
Success is being happy.
Success is being fulfilled.
Success is being secure with yourself.
Analyze your shortcomings.
Work on a plan to improve.
Envy no person.
No one can have it all. No one can have it all. If they do, at what price?
The rich lose their possessions; the beautiful, their looks.
The powerful, fall.
Learn from others.
Learn from yourself.
Identify your strengths. Build upon them.
Be proud of your accomplishments.
Identify your weaknesses. Attend to them.
Not everything is self-fixable.
Get help if and when you need it.
Take responsibility for your actions and words.
Let go of blame.
Be irreverent but not rude.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT
What you don’t do can have a great – or greater – effect than what you choose to do.
Consider the effect of your words and actions on others.
Carry your share.
Each excuse creates a heavier burden for the rest of us.
Don’t look down at others.
It’s too easy to be critical and patronizing.
It is not everyone’s luck to be good-looking, bright, capable and privileged as you.
You may never know what secrets your friends and acquaintances carry.
You may never know the burdens and tragedies of people you meet in your lifetime.
Don’t presume you know all the answers.
You don’t even know all the questions.
No one knows. if he or she says they do, they are either lying or fooling themselves.
Behind the face of every adult is a kid trying to figure out what the hell he or she is doing.
Some seem to accomplish it better than others.
No one is successful in every area.
The secrets of life are within yourself.
The world is wondrous.
Hold onto humour. It may save your life.
Choose friends you can love,
Choose friends who love you back.
Learn to trust.
Don’t be naive.
Give yourself time.
Be patient with others.
Reach higher, always.
Learn about art. You will appreciate beauty.
Learn about music. Its rhythms captivate.
Study literature. Attend live theatre. Gather ideas.
Forget television and electronics. Interact with people. Volunteer.
Look for positive role models. follow their lead. Become a leader.
Mentor others, then set them free.
Recognize those who labour for you.
Acknowledge their work.
Consider new ideas and approach.
Balance your life.
Follow your interests and hobbies.
Become physically active.
Nurture family relationships.
Work at friendships.
Keep in touch. Regularly.
Meet for lunch or dinner, movies, theatre.
Be balanced emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually.
Believe in something.
Be generous to those who deserve it.