Go Ask Your Mother!
My mom’s pink and white pajamas fit me well. The soft material made me feel I was being surrounded by one of her hugs. Because she had lost a lot of weight, I inherited some of her barely worn clothes. Communication was muddled from my mother’s pain and medications. My regrets grew as her health declined. Why hadn’t I spent more time, asked questions, and learned more about her life?
My encouragement to young people is this: have an urgency in treating the elderly as fascinating, living history lessons. If you have a special interest or curiosity about a certain time period, war, or political action, find someone who experienced it. What were the activities of daily living like 60 or more years ago, and what hardships did they include? What reactions did they see when a war ended, man reached the moon, or other noteworthy events? How large was their childhood home, and how many people lived in it? What was their first job, and who was a mentor? Ask them how difficult it has been to adjust to a fast-changing world of technology.
If you don’t have the blessing of older folks in your family, ask a church, senior center, or assisted living home for a recommendation. I’ve been surprised at the accuracy of memories and the honesty of feelings shared. Often, people will feel valued as you ask questions and show interest. Every aged person needs that. Perhaps an “oldie but goodie” can teach you a hands-on skill that not too many people have. There will always be something new to learn. And if it’s from your own relative, you might learn about yourself!
Susan L. Fink, Wisconsin
Please find below some examples of my advice that I drafted for my young son and daughter across the categories of character, opportunities, and risk. As I started drafting this advice, I simply kept writing and two years later had a manuscript that culminated into my publishing the book “8 Steps to Overcoming Everyday Adversity.” The feedback I have received has compelled me to share the advice and book with a wider audience.
1. In competitive sports and life, use good judgment to know when you need to score versus providing an assist.
2. Being cheap is a character flaw. Always reciprocate when a friend gets the bill or pays your way. His act of the offer, or lack thereof, will say much about his character.
3. Sometime in your teenage years or early 20s, you will likely consider the option to serve in the military. Having never served (with some regret), my only advice is this (taken from a WSJ excerpt): Men like me who have never served often feel that we’ve missed out on an important part of life. We don’t know what it’s like to be young and very far away from home, vulnerable to instant personal extinction, but also part of the comradeship that such danger creates. In this sense, these men and women who have served (especially those serving multiple combat tours) [have accomplished] a far greater thing than I have ever done.
On Opportunity and Risk
1. To my son and daughter: The fact that you were born in this country, and that you have parents with a strong marriage, means that you will have more opportunities than you’ll be able to handle. Compared to other children around the world, your life circumstances are to be envied. The problems you will face will be “first world” problems and are surmountable.
2. Leverage your failures or losses into learning AND motivational opportunities. Look back only to learn, rather than regret.
3. Take risks early. The younger you are, the more failures you can absorb.
4. Doubt is very expensive. You are much more capable than you think.
Chris Greco, Missouri
Your article inspired me to send you a copy of what I have been teaching each of my six grandchildren from their birth. Probably all of these can be found in the book of Proverbs, but this is in today’s language.
Granddad’s 10 Rules to Live by and Best Advice
1. Be honest.
2. Be safe.
3. Never do anything stupid. Avoid stupid people, places, and things.
4. Have fun.
5. Be too smart to start! Never even once! No tobacco, no alcohol, no drugs, no tattoos, no profanity! Following this rule will keep you healthy and separate you from average people! No premarital sex will keep you pure.
6. Live for God, family, country.
7. Be thankful, be grateful, and be polite.
8. Anticipate the unexpected.
9. Think twice before speaking once.
10. Pay it forward. (It’ll come back to you.)
1. Never, never, never quit.
2. Write down your life purpose and goals. Modify them when necessary.
3. In life, you will get a lot more nos than yeses. Shake off the nos and be grateful to God for the yeses, and take advantage of them.
4. Do something every day toward achieving your goals.
5. Learn something from every job or task you are given.
Girls: The No. 1 rule is never kiss a fool and never be fooled by a kiss!
Boys and girls: Never even date anyone who would not do to marry, because you never know who you might fall in love with.
Jim Crawford, Maryland
I started my career in education teaching and coaching at the high school and college levels. When it became obvious that I was working in a world of growing left-wing radicals and colleagues who were telling me how to vote to support the unions that I did not belong to, I decided to leave and enter a world of competitive capitalism. That world was commission-only independent sales. I chose the medical field for pursuing my new career. I am very fortunate to have made a very good living in this pursuit. Along the way, I attended many sales and medical procedural conferences to add to my knowledge of our products and how to successfully communicate our advantages to our client base doctors.
Along the way, our company started to conduct yearly seminars involving our doctors and their support personnel. We would choose attractive locations and invite our doctors to attend. We as salespeople were incentivized to encourage as many of our customers to attend, with a very generous bonus attached. I won those contests on a yearly basis, and after four years, the organization wanted to know what I did to convince so many doctors to accept my invitation. At the same time, many of my colleagues wondered out loud how it was that I was able to establish what seemed to be such strong relationships with my customers. This is the rest of the story.
I observed very early on how everyone in the business conducted themselves. I saw really sharp reps schmooze, wine and dine, hustle their way to business that I envied. But sooner or later, they were burnt out and were gone. I chose a different path. I worked honestly and diligently for years to establish myself as a trusted, loyal, dependable champion of my customer and their support staff. It was at this time that I started feeling comfortable accepting and inviting personal relationships to build, and found that as I did I became more and more secure in the volume of business I was producing. I was finally reaping my rewards that were next to impossible to lose.
The bottom line to my company and all the younger reps who wanted to know how or why I was successful in my relationship building:
“Always start to develop a professional relationship way before focusing on building a personal one. If done the other way around, you will fail like so many I observed in the many years I was employed. Now retired, I still have as some of my best friends those folks I once called on for business.”
A simple story of the tortoise and the hare.
Dan Berner, Minnesota
What advice would you like to give to the younger generations?
We call on all of our readers to share the timeless values that define right and wrong, and pass the torch, if you will, through your wisdom and hard-earned experience. We feel that the passing down of this wisdom has diminished over time, and that only with a strong moral foundation can future generations thrive.
Send your advice, along with your full name, state, and contact information to NextGeneration@epochtimes.com or mail it to: Next Generation, The Epoch Times, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001