Iíve tried to teach my kids those lessons about life that ring true in every situation.



First lesson:  be true to who you are. If you are not being yourself, how will you find true friends or true love? You donít want people liking you because of who they THINK you are, but who you really are.



Second lesson: Time will tell. I have found this to be true of any given situation. If you are unsure of something, wait it out. Relationships, decisions, anything to do with people and trust and concernsÖ time will tell. If you are unsure of someone, give it time and you will see the truth eventually, good or bad.



Third lesson: Donít lie. My mother told me when I was just about 10-years-old that if I lie to her she wonít be able to trust me, so if it happened one day that I was accused of lying, she could say, ďNo, my daughter never lies.Ē I like that one. I passed it on to every one of my children.



Fourth lesson: If you donít start a bad habit, you wonít have to quit it. For example, smoking; illicit drugs or drug abuse of any kind; even drinking. I know smoking and drinking are legal and adults are welcome to make the decision whether to do that or not. But in my own experience, knowing oneself well enough to know how difficult it would be to stop smoking or if, God forbid, alcoholism became a problem I know it is better not to start. Just say no.



Fifth lesson: Donít say things you donít mean. I see it in the movies or television all the time. People argue and say something cruel to the other person when the truth is, words donít go away. They replay over and over inside a personís head. Once you say it, it is there. Try very hard not to let your mouth get ahead of your heart.



Sixth lesson: Stop yelling. This goes for parents and big people who tower over small, or larger, children. You will be AMAZED at what a look will do, rather than yelling. Or try whispering. They will stop dead in their tracks and stare at you like theyíve never seen you before.



Being yelled at repeatedly causes one of two effects: either the victim stops hearing the yelling and tones you out, in which case you might find yourself yelling louder.  Or they learn to yell too so in 15 or so years, theyíll either be yelling back in your face or yelling at your grandchildren. Just stop yelling.



Seventh lesson: Respect people, no matter their age or station in life. Look people in the eye when you talk to them, whether they are taller than you, shorter than you, in a wheelchair, on crutches or in a tree Ė everyone deserves our respect. My children know how feels to struggle and they know how it feels to live in bounty. Itís a good lesson for us all to remember the hardest time in our life and apply it to the moment when facing someone who has a heavy load.



Eighth lesson: Give it to God. Faith is its own reward. Pray when you donít feel like it; give thanks for the person who is irritating you; and trust that Godís plan is bigger than ours.



Amen.