THE BLOG
09/11/2014 01:39 pm ET Updated Nov 11, 2014

20 Things I Want My Grandson to Know If I'm not Here to Tell Him

John M. Simmons

James is my first grandchild. He's just over a year old now. I understand that when compared with others in our demographics, we're both still young. I just turned 50 and I'm probably not going anywhere soon. Even so, the things I want my grandson to know are important enough that I'm not taking chances. I want them here, in writing.

  1. The world isn't fair. Neither I, nor your parents, can change that for you. I hope that you are treated unfairly just often enough for you to realize how important justice is, and how hard you should work at treating others fairly. Stand up for the rights of those who will be treated far less justly than you. Though the world will never be fair, make sure the parts that you touch are as close to that as they can possibly be.
  2. None of the political parties in the United States are destroying the country. Political parties have been claiming that the opposition is destroying the country since the founding fathers first started to divide in their thinking. We haven't had a president who compares to Hitler, no matter how much someone tries to tell you otherwise. This country is run by the voice of the people. If the country fails, it will be because of the people; not whichever political party they ally themselves to. So, LEAD. I don't care how you stand politically as long as you seek for justice and fairness. Demand that from those on the side of the political fence that you choose.
  3. There is bad in the world. People tell me that the world is getting worse. They are probably right. But the world is getting better, too. Never, in the history of the world, has more money been spent to help people in impoverished circumstances. I believe that good keeps getting better and bad keeps getting worse. So, be found with the best of people and you will be among the finest people this world has ever seen. Choose the contrary, and you will be ranked with the worst people this planet has ever produced.
  4. The world is full of tools. I have found great success in making use of tools in my professional career. They have brought me monetary riches. I'm not saying that being rich is important. I'm simply saying that tools are effective. Seek tools and use them to improve yourself, your family and the world, in general. Never let anyone convince you that a tool is good or bad because someone else has used it for their own purpose, whether good, or evil.
  5. Religion is one of the most effective tools I have ever seen for accomplishing great good. It is also one of the most powerful tools that has ever been used to further the cause of evil. I haven't found a religion that has not been used for both purposes, by multiple persons.
  6. Governments and politics: See Religion.
  7. Money: See governments and politics.
  8. Focus on your family first. But if your goals are to support many more people than your responsibilities require, providing for your family will be taken care of early on. Make time for things that are important to your family. Make those things important to yourself, even if it is only because they are important to them. Your ability to teach your family will be measured in direct proportion to how much they love and respect you. Keep your family priorities in order.
  9. Pay the best professionals for their counsel; then follow it. You don't need to pay money to foolishly do whatever you want to do. You can fail for free.
  10. Always choose the path where your own knowledge, efforts and hard work have the most influence.

    Then study harder and work more than your contemporaries.

  11. "Ya can't learn nuthin' with yer mouth open." My grandpa taught me that. I'm still trying to practice that wise piece of counsel. He also taught me that there's always a job diggin' ditches and that I "ain't above it." Neither are you.
  12. While you can't control what happens to you, to a large extent, you can choose how it affects you.

    When you can't be happy no matter how hard you try, get professional help. There is no shame in it.

  13. On political correctness: Do your best to not offend others with words that are chosen carelessly. But do not freak out when others' naïve use of words rubs you the wrong way. You don't need to be an educator for political correctness. The field is overcrowded.
  14. You need to love what you do. But you can learn to love it while you do it. There is good in almost any job. Focus on that good and love what you do, even if it wouldn't be your first choice.
  15. Be better at learning from preaching than delivering it (even if you're a preacher).
  16. You have a conscience. Use it. Don't let others determine what is right or wrong for you. A
    higher power will do that job just fine.
  17. It's never too late to start over. I hope that throughout your life, you have many new beginnings.
  18. You will never be a great leader without learning how to be an incredible follower. Learn that job well and don't try to leave it too soon.
  19. Stand on the shoulders of giants and always give credit where it's due.
  20. Never stop learning.

I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist. Practicality has served me much better in my life and that is why I consider myself a realist. Realistically speaking, I have great hope for you and your generation. I see how far compassion and other good things have progressed since my own childhood. I can only imagine how much further those principles can be taken. So, if I'm not here to tell you... Ya already got told. Ya got no excuses. Now go out and get sumthin' done.

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