While driving our RV to Long Beach so that we could babysit our grandsons and then go to our annual police reunion, my wife and I talked about what leads to a happy life. This column is meant to be a template for our grandchildren. It is hoped that others may see the efficacy of the advice given here in the their own lives or would pass it on to those they think would benefit from it.
In almost every generation, except, perhaps our current one, wisdom is considered to be a province of the elders. This is obviously because those who have accumulated age have lived life, made mistakes, and, hopefully learned from those errors. It is incumbent upon those of us who have reached a ripe old age to pass on whatever wisdom we have accumulated. Here are some lessons that can lead to a more joyful life.
The most important thing to learn in life is to tell the truth. The truth is always easier to remember, than a lie, or which lie was told originally.
Everyone makes mistakes. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it, apologize if it has caused hurt or harm, correct any damage, if possible, learn from the mistake and move on.
Do your best job even in difficult circumstances or when working for poor leaders. My dad always told me to “give your best effort, no matter what. You'll occasionally have to do your best in spite of who you work for, not because of who you work for. Whenever you find idle time when at your job, ask coworkers if you can help them out with anything. This will not only engender a happier workplace, but will give you experience that my help you later.
Avoid, at all costs, seeing yourself as a victim. Injustices of the past have been addressed and corrected in this country. Discrimination due to race or sex that takes place today, have remedies that can be confronted legally in courts.
Those that talk about “dog whistles”, “code words” and other such tripe, do so because there is so little real racism, sexism and discrimination to point out today. There are those who benefit from perpetrating the myth of current, ubiquitous repression of minorities, so they create false conspiracies that include “dog whistles”, “code words” and “systemic racism”.
Those who want to be victims will always find someone or group willing to give them false sympathy and emotional reinforcement. They can always find something to cause victimhood for someone. This is a double trap, however. First, it gives the so-called victim an excuse for not succeeding, never having to blame him or herself. Second, it stifles future attempts to try because in imbues in the individual, a futility that no attempts will succeed because of the “racism”, sexism or discrimination.
Don't get married until you have the education and/or training and have a good job. Don't have children until you get married. Children born out of wedlock usually lack the stability of those born to married couples.
Stick to your commitments. Once you commit to marriage, be true to your spouse. Regardless of what the current culture or public opinion may be, this is the most important vow you will ever make and you should do everything you can to live up to that vow and preserve your marriage.
On a closely related matter, once children are conceived, you have an obligation as a father or a mother to raise your children to be good people and citizens. Your job is to be a parent and not a friend. If children are brought up correctly, they will be good, hardworking, honest and people anyone would be proud to call a friend.
In today's high tech world, children can easily become captivated by games and technology that will exclude other activities and real human contact. Responsible parents must limit the time their children spend watching TV and playing video games. These are destructive of the family and interaction with others. Set priorities: homework, reading, playing outside and then a limited time for tech games. Also, monitor which games your children play and eliminate violent and/or antisocial ones.
Encourage you children to become involved in sports, clubs and other social activities because they develop a sense of community and belonging.
We need to inspire our kids to confront bullies, when they are the targets or see someone else being bullied. Lastly, teach children to laugh at themselves and funny situations, but not at others. A good sense of humor can assist a person through many a difficult time.