Dear Next Generation: Kindness, Generosity, and Bear Hugs

By Dear Next Generation
Dear Next Generation
Dear Next Generation
August 11, 2021 Updated: August 11, 2021

Our dad taught us kindness, giving, and best of all hugging.

He was a bear hugger. He owned his own business and treated all of his employees as family.

We went to church weekly. We didn’t have much when we were younger but we knew no different and it didn’t seem to matter. Dad was growing his business while Mom worked nights as a nurse. Their work ethic was impressive, with lofty goals.

Their business grew, as did their financial independence. As kids we never really realized their wealth because we lived a fairly simple life. Working hard and giving generously to anyone who needed it. My dad was that guy that would give you the shirt off his back.

To this day, God rest both their souls, I’m thankful to them for instilling those traits in us. My children were fortunate to have both my parents in their lives. My grandchildren had their “big gramma” until April of this year and they loved her dearly. Telling my grandchildren stories, showing them pictures, helping them to understand kindness to others, giving of their time and money, and learning a proper bear hug is so important.

I’m grateful to my mom and dad for all the lessons, memories, and joy they passed onto us. Keep life simple, spend quality time with family, be frugal, care about and for others, and make sure those bear hugs count! (Not an easy task with COVID!)

Lisa Butler, California

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Respectfully listen to those of opposing viewpoints.

As a teenager I made disparaging remarks regarding the other political party. My father, who was a local politician, chastised me. He told me that Democrats need Republicans and Republicans need Democrats—they are each extreme in their own way but together they draw each other to the center where most of America lives. As I’ve aged, I’ve seen the wisdom of that rebuke.

It’s very easy to become blind to the problems of our point of view. We can be self-righteous and stubborn, believing our position is 100 percent accurate and any other perspective is shortsighted or even ignorant. When we reject considering another opinion we do so to our own detriment. Political correctness can rob us of our ability to analyze another standpoint, and either amend our own stance or be reassured that what we thought to be true was indeed right. Listening to the reasons someone thinks differently than we do increases our knowledge and gives the other person the dignity of being heard, even if we don’t agree with them.

There is a temptation to listen only to form an argument—which isn’t really listening but instead is quarreling. To really listen we must try to crawl inside another’s mind and investigate how they came to the conclusion they’ve reached. Ask questions to discover why they believe what they do and how they came to that belief. Refuse to argue by simply stating, “I don’t agree but I see some validity in why you hold that to be your position. Perhaps, after I’ve thought about this further, we could have another discussion.”

Civility in disagreement is a benchmark of a mature person. Strive to display wisdom, respect, and honor the age-old adage, “we can disagree without being disagreeable.”

Jill Wagner, North Carolina

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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, 5 Penn Plaza, 8th Fl., New York, NY, 10001.