A Message For My Grandchildren

My Grandchildren Face A World Even Worse Than the One I experienced in the ’60’s!!

Because several of you said you missed it, this is a repeat of my recent Facebook post.

A message for my grandchildren:

Before long you will become a teenager. It will seem at times that your mother and father are the dumbest people on earth. You will grow frustrated with them and their decisions affecting you. Please, believe your granddad when I tell you they are not dumb. They are trying to make the best decisions they can for you. You may not understand or agree, but they DO have your best well-being in their hearts.

No, they are not perfect. They are only human. They are parents desperately wanting you to grow into adulthood without dying in an automobile accident or becoming an immoral sociopath. They do not want you to be greedy, self-centered or any of those things to which the human condition often succumbs. And the funny thing is that in a few years you will look back and think, “They weren’t so stupid after all.”

Please let me share with you the truths my two-thirds of a century-plus years have given me. First and foremost: give your heart to a higher being, take time to meditate and pray. Study the history of mankind. Actually, I am jumping ahead. Hopefully, you will—you must—do these two things during your teenage years. Right now, I want you to pick your friends very carefully. Misguided friends and peer pressure have led many a young soul down the path of damnation. When someone belittles you for not participating in his or her—you fill in the blank—theft, lie, gossip, use of drugs, bullying the little guy, whatever—belittle that person in turn for being weak and self-centered. YOU be the leader.

I may not be here on earth with you during these years, but I will be watching after you. Always conduct yourself both privately and publicly with this in mind. And keep these additional things in mind:

Being RIGHT doesn’t necessarily matter in all circumstances. This means that even when you know you are right, there are times when silence is the better option.

Listen twice as much as you talk. You will learn nothing if you are not a good listener. And really do listen to the other person. Ask questions. Try to understand alternative viewpoints.

Always look outward, not inward. When you are self-centered, your life is important only to you, but when it is about others your life becomes important to many.

Strive to do your best, not to be perfect.

Cultivate good manners and social graces. Cretins are a dime a dozen.

Don’t argue or make excuses. Excuses are the feather beds of failure.

Be genuinely humble. No one likes an over-blown ego.

Be organized and on-time.

Be kind to ALL people—even those who do not deserve it.

You cannot fix everything and everyone. Do what you can then move on.

Your word and your integrity are everything. Live by this.

Always remember that life is not fair. Even when you do everything right, you will experience undeserved behavior from those around you. Just keep in mind the sign my old pediatrician, Doctor Clifton Woolley, had on his office wall: ILLEGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM “operor retineo non forensic liberi attero vos.” Your great-grandmother said it meant, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” There was also a photo of him fresh out of medical school standing beside a C-47 aircraft with full combat medical gear and wearing a parachute. He was a highly decorated paratrooper during World War II and the reason I too volunteered for the airborne and became a paratrooper. This is to say, “Choose your role models wisely and they will take you to new heights (pun intended).”

Lastly, stop and look around each and every day. Live in the moment. Live life, love people, and remember that love is not what you say but what you DO.

I say these things with the knowledge that every window in my glass house was broken years ago. My hope for you is that these words will help you avoid the mistakes I have made.

Your Loving Grandfather,

Rick DeStefanis

You may also enjoy: Political Correctness and Manners and Memories for Those Who Gave it All

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