Every time someone graduates, I include a list of my own pearls of wisdom in the card with the check. These are two of my favorites.
“Be the Leader of Yourself.” If you do this, then you will not be persuaded to do something reckless, stupid, or illegal. You will always pause and use every opportunity to practice discerning judgment.
“Don’t Get Caught in the Poppy Fields on the Way to Oz.” The obvious reference is don’t do drugs, but it also means avoid any bad habits, negative influences, shiny objects that distract you from achieving your goals, that keep you from walking a path of integrity. Ask yourself often, “Would the child you were be proud of the grownup you turned out to be?”
Be an asset to society, not a burden; and in a world where everything has a price, remember kindness is free.
I was a teenager in Berlin, Germany, when I watched the movie “Rebel Without a Cause.” At the time I did not know I was a teenager. I was just a young person to whom nobody much paid attention. I was not thought to be wise or knowledgeable about world affairs and therefore no one sought my advice. Which was very lucky for the world. When discussing the rebels in America with my friends, we tried to understand their problems and could not find any. They had cars, they did not seem to pay much attention in school, and James Dean drank milk right out of a carton.
By the time I hit the ripe old age of 18, that teenage/trouble thing seemed to apply some to my life, but unfortunately, my parents did not seem to pay too much attention. When I told my mother that I was a troubled young person, she told me to smarten up and get with it. Seeing as the generations before me went through the same period, and as she had survived it intact, I was advised to take it easy, stop worrying, and enjoy life. Which I proceeded to do.
By the time I got to 25, I had come to understand that I had really not known anything and that my parents were not the old fogies I had presumed them to be. They were actually quite smart and a wonderful source of information and advice.
Once I became a mother, I tried very hard to instill in my son the same values I was brought up with. One of which is to never take yourself too seriously and enjoy the years we have been given while at the same time contributing to society in a way that benefits everyone.
Coming from my German background, I have tried to heed my father’s advice: Don’t run with the crowd and never pay attention to people who scream to get themselves heard.
My advice most of all to young people is to be yourself. Stop crumbling under peer pressure, stand up for yourself. It is not easy but rewarding.
To the young girls today—could you please stop wearing the same hairstyle, parted in the middle and straight down? It is definitely not individualistic.
Surrey, British Columbia
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