Ten most important lessons you may wish to teach your children

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 10, 2021 - 12:00am

More than wealth, land, or bundles of corporate stocks that wealthy men work hard for and worry about to bequeath to you, our children, here are life's most important lessons that you need to know not from our words, but our own examples. You should grow up, wise and strong in a life that’s quite harsh and a world increasingly becoming very competitive.

First, life isn’t fair and not all people are created equal. There are kids born in castles and palaces, while others in shanties and huts in squatters' areas. Some are brought up in exclusive enclaves of the rich and the famous, in big cities and urban centers, while others grow up in distant hinterlands, surrounded by farms and nature. There are children who need to struggle much in life and work very hard to survive in a very harsh world. There are kids who have natural gifts in music, arts, and sports, others are healthier, taller, more good-looking while the rest are handicapped, sickly, blind, crippled in bodies or weaklings in spirit. Life isn’t fair.

Second, character is more valuable than competence. You can buy competence while character is a rare item. But good character isn’t useful without competence. Yet, both aren’t enough, they should be reinforced by conscientiousness, commitment, and caring. You should know that character is so important because you cannot buy a clean conscience, which is essential for a peaceful and harmonious life. Third, success in life isn’t dependent on luck or good fortune, as much as it must be founded on clear purpose and hard work. Every person must discover his purpose in the first 10 years of his life, and should translate that purpose into yearly goals and monthly objectives, that are specific, measurable, and time-bound. If you still don't know your purpose, start searching for it this very moment.

Fourth, you must know that money isn’t the root of all evils. It’s the love of money that destroys a person and ruins his relationships. Money is a means with which to achieve objectives, to reach goals, to fulfill one's purpose. Money shouldn’t be the be-all and the end-all of life. Money can buy many things, but there are many important values that money cannot buy. Like honor, peace of mind, good name, and a clear conscience. Fifth, there are material possessions that carry very high values like memories, true friendships, loyalty, a happy family and a faithful marriage, and also legacies and heritage. Things like ancestral lands and homes, classic paintings, family bibles, wedding rings, ancient photos, wedding albums, videos, family trees, and biographies. But remember that too much attachment to money and possessions can break relationships and fracture marriages, families, and clans.

Sixth, know that the people you love will give you the highest joys, and also the ones to inflict in your heart, the most painful pains, and that love for family and relatives can also bring you your deepest anguish. Seventh, that bad people sometimes win over the good, but their victories aren’t lasting and meaningful, and that there are pure souls in prison, even as there are evil men in white robes and kingly garments. Eighth, while alive and breathing, it’s better to forgive and let go than carry grudges. It isn’t your right or duty to compel other people, including your own spouses and children, to conform to your expectations. You aren’t life's lawgiver. You’re just a handful of dust after your body is cremated. So, be humble. And don't hurt people, even the bad ones. Hurting isn’t your mission. If others are different, that isn’t your business. The world's most cruel oppressors may be your own arrogance, anger, and resentment.

Ninth, you shouldn’t die without realizing that the opposite of love isn’t hatred but indifference, that the unhappiest people are those who refused to care for others. Remember, that it’s better to be wrong than not to try to do something right, even one right thing before dying. It’s far more important to do the right thing even in the wrong way, than to do the wrong thing in the most perfect manner. Tenth, that there’s a soul dwelling in your body, and that even if the body is ruined, the soul must be pure when you return to our final home. Never forget that even if all the world abandons you in your final moments, what matters most is that someone most important is waiting to welcome you there.

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