My Personal 10 commandments:

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1) Be nice. I put this one first because I feel it is the most important commandment. It costs you nothing to be nice to people. It can be as simple as a “Good morning” when you first see them each day. Be nice to everyone, especially those that aren’t nice to you. It will drive them crazy and make them wonder what you are up to.

2) Respect others. Respect is essential because it demonstrates that you value the rights and dignity of someone else as a human being. Everyone deserves your respect no matter their station in life. From a homeless person to a fast food worker to the CEO of a company. You don’t know their story and they may be doing the best they can.

3) Drive carefully. This is not just for you but for me, my family and everyone else on the road. Also don’t drive when you shouldn’t, like when you are angry, stoned on drugs or drunk.

4) Donate to the less fortunate. This will make you feel good. Donating to a charity anonymously is one of the best feelings in the world. I have honestly found in life that the most generous people I met were the ones with the least. When I lived in Massachusetts, I lived in a WPA housing development where everyone there was either on some kind of financial assistance or receiving a low income. Nobody ever went hungry there because everyone would share their food allotment with everyone else. They would also have a monthly food “swap” where they would trade what they wouldn’t use for something they would.

5) Help others. Offer to shovel their snow, cut their grass, rake their leaves and help with odd jobs. You might not know just who could use help unless you ask. Some people are too proud to ask for help. I used to snow blow my entire block in my youth. I was already out there and it didn’t take me much longer to snow blow 10 front sidewalks as it did to do just mine. Besides, it was just the neighborly thing to do.

6) Provide a good example. Your children will learn how to act as adults by watching how you act much more than how you tell them to act. For most children, the most important role models are their parents and caregivers like grandparents that have a regular presence in their lives. Your children will see your example either positive or negative, as a pattern for the way life is to be lived.

7) Listen more. Everyone loves to talk about themselves. The most rudimentary of all human requirements is the need to understand and be understood. The greatest way to appreciate people is to pay attention to them. Sometimes listening to someone will prove to be therapeutic to them if they are going through a hard or difficult time.

8) Offer advice only when asked. Sometimes people just need to vent and are not asking for advice. If you offer advice at this point chances are it will be ignored, however if they ask for advice, be as diplomatic as you can be and instead of saying “Do this” or “Do that”, say “If I were you I would think about doing this or that.” You could also guide the person asking for advice by saying “Maybe you could look into getting help with (whatever their problem is)” or suggest who they might call that could help.

9) Love more. There is just too much hate in the world. Hate will eat you up inside and make you a bitter person. By loving one another we can get much more done to improve the world.

10) Appreciate life. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow isn’t here yet. As the saying goes “carpe diem” or seize the day. Live in the moment. Be thankful for one more day on Earth. It is a blessing not everyone gets. Play more, laugh more, forgive more and try to see the good in everything. Remember every cloud has a silver lining. I could tell you how food poisoning saved my life but that is a story for another time.

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