“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” ~ Anne Frank
Recently — on three occasions — I had the misfortune to hear unexpected and disturbing conversations in which people used the phrase “those people” in a derogatory way. It prompted me to reflect on the rich life I’ve had the fortune of living with wonderful people and some actions that made it richer. Here are a ten things I advise my children to know and do.
Do not give money to political or lobbying causes. Their special interests do not include you. Instead, give money to homeless and hungry people. A small voice in your head will prompt you. Embrace the phrase “feed my sheep.” You cannot help everyone but do what you can to offer some hope.
I love the movie line, “There is no life in the suburbs” from “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Cherish diversity and change in your life. Xenophobia is a dangerous thing.
Go to the Rocky Mountains, find a trail that leads to a mountain top and hike there before dusk. After the sun sets, lie on your back and ponder the Milky Way before you. Don’t be alarmed by your insignificance. Understand what a privilege it is to be here and what you can give back.
Go to Venice Beach, California, sit in a cafe and people watch for a day.
At least once, see a Broadway musical front row center. Understand that every word sung and every move choreographed is an artist’s labor of love to uplift you.
Drive the backroads of this country aimlessly for a week or two and see how amazing the people are. Have meals in local restaurants. Never be afraid to talk with people whose views are not like yours. You will learn something.
Don’t argue about religion. People who think that they have to raise their voices to be heard are people to avoid.
Go to a great museum and watch. Sit and look at a painting or sculpture that intrigues you. Ponder the artist’s inspiration. You have the privilege of inspiration too. Find it and use it.
Question everything and have great joy in your right to do that.