Family & Education

Dear Next Generation: Strengthen Your Character to Face Challenges Ahead

BY Dear Next Generation TIMEFebruary 8, 2022 PRINT

Dear Next Generation:

As we navigate through the first few weeks of 2022, it’s a sound idea to take stock of lessons learned as we chart a course into the future.

It isn’t necessary to make new resolutions, because most of us break them anyway. However, it’s wise to assess our character and how we can strengthen it in order to face any challenges that might arise in 2022.

Make sure that you strive to reduce the usage of social media during 2022. Research has shown that overuse can alter our brain makeup, which can lead to addiction, depression, and isolation. Too many folks sit or walk around constantly engaged on their devices, and they appear to be oblivious to their surroundings. As they carry on like this, they never know how much of their private information is being breached because of a lack of rigorous security. Bad actors in the internet universe can data mine or hack information for malign purposes.

Instead of spending so much time on electronic devices, start reading books, magazines, and newspapers in order to broaden your horizons. As you read more, you also can absorb ideas on how you can communicate in writing. As you decrease your dependence on social media, you’ll realize the importance of authentic face-to-face communication with others as you actively listen and speak clearly. Also, listen to music without the earbuds on traditional machines such as CD players, radios, and record players. The music sounds great in these formats.

In order to strengthen your immune system in 2022, get outside and experience the beauty of nature as you exercise and sharpen your senses.

Along with daily exercise, make sure that you consume nutritious meals, drink plenty of water, and have time for relaxation and rest. By staying healthy with an energetic lifestyle, you’ll be capable of battling any virus that comes along. You’ll also be better equipped to focus, control distractions, and learn to attain a calming sense of serenity.

Nowadays, much of the media culture can be quite shallow, so it wouldn’t hurt to study the classics relating to the arts, history, literature, philosophy, and religion. These deeper subjects can give you a grounding in many of the timeless moral lessons down through time and help you forge strong character that can withstand the slings and arrows of life. I guarantee that you’ll be able to relate to some of the divine and human facets of these courses. You’ll also gain a better understanding of civics, responsible liberty, and the rule of law.

Never allow a belief in your worth to be eroded. We all face daily challenges and larger trials from time to time, but faith and hope will assist you in overcoming any obstacle in your path. Expand your knowledge and skillsets to prepare you for any stumbles that you encounter during your education or entrance into the workforce. Take on any new responsibilities that you can, but don’t take on too much. In other words, avoid extremes as much as possible and strive for moderation in your endeavors. Try to view failures or mistakes as learning experiences that make you smarter and stronger.

If you find that you have the time, don’t hesitate to volunteer to help others in the community, at school, or in your occupational environment.

Assisting others in need is highly rewarding, as it’s mutually beneficial. It also enhances the traits of compassion, generosity, and respect. You never know when those positive deeds will unexpectedly return to you when you’re in need.

Finally, enjoy life and develop a sense of daily gratitude for all of the blessings that this country and our creator have to offer you. Daily prayer is very powerful and can take you through both the bad and good times. Prayer doesn’t have to be eloquent with soaring rhetoric, but it can simply be about genuine thankfulness and requests from the heart. It helps to avoid requests that merely build up our egos, but instead, pray for others and for the areas in your life that you want to improve. Prayer doesn’t always lead to what we want for ourselves, but prayer will deliver to us what we need at specific times.

Christian Milord, California

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There was a time as a mother of two daughters—born 14 1/2 months apart—when I realized that I was essentially a “single” parent functioning in a dysfunctional relationship with their father. Initially overwhelmed at the thought of how to raise my girls, a question came to mind. Who did I want my children to be when they were 18 years old? If I weren’t to see them again until they were 18, what would I want to see? Who would I enjoy meeting? Driving this was the realization that I wasn’t raising children: I would be raising adults.

From that moment on, I came up with a plan. I would teach them good table manners. I would teach them how to meet, greet, and speak with adults. I would expose them to different situations and guide them through behaviors that are positive and supportive, such as “restaurant” manners, “in-store” behavior, and airplane etiquette, all the while teaching consideration of others. Dinner at the table was an every night occurrence until high school activities and clubs intervened. There were jobs at home that taught responsibility and fun times in the kitchen, learning how to cook, and clean up and put away.

Expectations were clearly stated, and yet their opinions mattered. And when the wheels came off, it was time for me to ask and listen to what was going on for them and help them explore ways they or I might have done something differently. When I was asked for something and the answer had to be “no,” it was usually because it wasn’t in the plan. This continued through their high school years. The plan worked, although I have to admit, there were times (just a few) when even I got a bit derailed. Those times were met with dialogue, listening, and creating solutions together—or walking away to be revisited later.

In today’s world, parents have very little time to “teach their children well.” About 10 years, if that. The fine-tuning can happen later, but I would encourage parents to come up with a plan to teach their children to be the adults that they would like to meet later in life. Our children don’t learn lifelong skills by osmosis.

Best regards,

M. L. Bonder

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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, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001

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