Advice for my great grandchildren

I’m still in the heat of battle of raising children. It is beyond my comprehension that I will one day have grandchildren, much less that they will have children.

The thought of having great grandchildren gives me hope, and in that spirit I offer the following advice to them as a voice from beyond the grave:

White wooden rocking chair on a front porch
I’ve already got my spot from which I can dispense wisdom in my dotage.

Be kind. How you treat people matters more than how successful you are. It matters more than how much money you make, how popular you are, how well known you are. Kindness is in itself one of the greatest contributions you can make to this world and a profound legacy to leave after you’re gone.

Put down your device. I can’t imagine what technology you will have at your fingertips, but I can imagine that it will be even more intrusive than the smart phones we have allowed to consume our attention in my day. Technology is a useful tool, but you need time when you set it aside to focus on what’s real and tangible and right in front of you.

Focus on relationships. Loneliness and isolation can trouble you in an almost inexpressibly profound way. Look for ways to connect, human-to-human with others. Giving your time and attention to others will make you a better listener, a better thinker, a better person. It’s an important investment.

Move. Nothing feels better than exertion. Work out. Dance. Walk. Hike. Run. Skip. Ride a bike. Paddle a kayak. Skate. Get outside and move around. I’m no scientist, but I believe moving your body will help you appreciate it, keep it functioning and give it the best chance to serve you well for a lifetime.

Take risks. Don’t let fear keep you from tackling your goals and following your dreams. There is a downside for every attempt at something worthwhile. You will learn from your failures and develop your skills and your character. The satisfaction of taking a risk, following through and achieving a goal is one of life’s greatest experiences.

Make time for creativity. I gravitated to writing. Your great grandmother enjoyed design and decorating. Your grandfather and uncles made music, performed in theater, cooked, drew, built, restored and wrote. There is something in each of us that is yearning to be expressed. Listen to your creative impulses and follow them. It will add meaning to your life and give you joy.

Love God, love others. Everyone is on a faith journey. For some, it’s a straight line from birth to death without straying one step from the faith handed down to them by their parents. For others, it’s a meandering path of alternating adherence and rejection and acceptance and questioning. For still others, it’s a mystery to be embraced and discovered and experienced as they wander through life. And there are many who reject faith altogether. My hope and prayer for you is that you know God’s love and allow that love to flow through you to others.

I leave you with this blessing: May God grant you the wisdom to know your gifts and the courage to use them.

What advice would you give or have you given to your great grandchildren? Leave a comment and share!