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A Secret for a Great Life

A Secret for A Great Life

The other day I was on one of my long walks enjoying the lake area I am so blessed to live by and saw a father cutting grass on a riding lawn mower, which by itself may not be so note worthy, I admit.  However, helping him and maybe getting in his way a bit were two of his children; both kids where about 6 to 9 years old and each were also driving a small vehicle; one a small look-a-like riding lawnmower – kids version and the other a kids small ATV.  The dad riding his mower had just come to the end of his cut with both kids following close behind and as he turned around they emerged right in his path and there the three of them sat looking , laughing and enjoying an intimate family situation. 

I like seeing these types of things as they remind me of when my own son who used to walk next to me at about that age and push his own child version of a lawn mower as I walked and mowed our own lawn. Those types of intimate moments were great to share with someone special and great teaching moments although they never felt like I was a teacher.

At this age young people are so impressionable and they want to be and do things that their parents do.  It is important that parents set the right example, do the right things and that they explain how to do the right things to those young impressionable minds, even as those minds grow much older.  Understanding how things work in the world in which we live is important when building a life for oneself, wouldn’t you agree?  I believe we are always both the teacher and the student and should try to take advantage of any opportunity to learn from others as well as share with others something you may know.

As you read this article, I assume you are much older so I would like to ask you several questions.  Can you name three things that you want different in your own life right now…three things that you may want to change about how your life is going?  Maybe there are several skills or abilities you would like to learn or do better.  What about your physical condition, your health and diet or what about traveling to some of those exotic places you always wanted to visit?  Is your career where you want it to be; how are your finances; is retirement even an option?  Are you happy with your relationships; are you really in them?  How do you treat those people who really love you?  What about your spirituality, what do you really know about the Bible, God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and life after death?  What about your generosity, your giving to others and simply helping others more; maybe educating and helping direct some young impressionable minds?  You know you may want many of these things in your life or want to simply make some changes to your life, so why haven’t you done it? Why are you where you are right now?

To make large changes in one’s life or to attain better than average results in the world you need to have some sort of a plan.  We have all heard things like, “you don’t build a house without first having  a blueprint” or “you don’t drive to a new destination without having a map on how to get there” so why would you want to live the only life you have without some kind of a plan to follow and guide you?

 Think for a second about a young person just starting out in the world, maybe it’s your daughter, son, niece or nephew or better still it’s you when you where much younger and that person comes to you for advice about how to live the best life story possible.  What do you tell them?  The advice you give them can literally change their future.  You wouldn’t say”just take things one day at a time and see how it plays out”, would you?  Remember, you love this person and they respect you enough to ask you for your life’s advice.   

Wouldn’t you sit them down, explain that life is filled with choices and that there will be decisions they will need to make everyday which can really affect their future, that it’s important to make good choices.  Wouldn’t you tell them that there will be many challenges to overcome and what works best is to be prepared for those challenges…to have their mind, body and soul in tip-top working order so they will be better prepared to make the best choices?  Wouldn’t you try to show them that to get to this state of life readiness, they really need to lay out a plan?  They need to have a sense of direction of what they want from their life and to have some level of self-awareness and that starting with a basic fundamental plan for their life is a good place to start. 

Wouldn’t you explain to them that it’s ok to make mistakes, that everyone makes them, and that we must learn from them and try not to make them again…that our mistakes are usually events that provide us with our best education in life and we should view them that way.  Wouldn’t you tell them how important it is to forgive others who made mistakes as well, remembering that none of us our perfect. 

Wouldn’t you point out to them that in life, discipline is very important…doing certain things correctly and over a long period of time can eventually provide a very positive return on that investment of their time, money or effort?  That saving and investing a portion of their income, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and staying active and living a life true to their values, beliefs and having integrity is very important. To never give up on faith, hope and love that they all have their place and are needed.  

Wouldn’t you say to them that the world is moving very fast and as you get older you will realize how fast time truly moves by and you should not waste it but use it wisely.  Wouldn’t you tell them that learning new things, studying topics they are interested in and developing themselves throughout their life is very important in their future years and will constantly add to their lives in ways they may not understand right now. That it is never too late to learn or experience something new.  Wouldn’t you try to explain that as they got older, the knowledge and experiences they will absorb in the years to come will make their view on life different and they will be able to see so many opportunities around them they would never otherwise have seen. You might also try to explain to them that as they grow older they may also start to see and feel some regrets about not doing some of the things they should have done many years ago. 

You may also at this point try to convince them of the importance of writing things down and to draw up an actual plan of how they want their life to go; how they want their life story to unfold; what they may want from their life.  This plan for their life may help remind them and re-focus their attention to the things they may want to do now and later in life, they will really appreciate that they actually did the things that were on that plan. Also to communicate this plan to their spouse and ask them for their plans so you can both truly enjoy the lives you both want to live and merge both your plans into one.  As they grow older they will have that life plan to look back on and see where they were, what they did and didn’t do and how they got to where they are today.  They will see many of the challenges and options that were presented to them and what decisions they made and how things turned out and be able to learn from their pasts.

As you go over this with them would you not start to think and ponder to yourself why you are not doing this very thing as well right now?  You know it is never too late to start planning for tomorrow and beyond.  You know there are things in your life that you want to do, things you want to experience and there is still a person you are yet to become.  You know all this, so make your plans and live your own life story. Write down some new exiting chapters and then go live them. This is, I believe, a secret to a great life.  Always remember, it is never too late to make plans, accomplish goals and become a better you.

Make sure to leave comments about this article below.  You never know whom you might help when sharing your own life’s wisdom and by all means, have a talk with a young person and explain to them the importance of plans and executing on them. 

Here is a nice quote and wish to end with by Jonathan Swift, “May you live everyday of your life”.

 

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU™

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A Family Helps

A Family Helps

In life most of us will go through some very difficult times as the world seems to present us with many different challenges we must overcome again and again.  We might believe we have no control over them and they may give the impression at times to keep happening and happening just to us…or so it might seem.  One of toughest challenges many of us face is the death of a parent. 

A death of a parent is a tough event to get through I’m sure most of us would agree, whether expected or unexpected, right?  This event just happened to me and my family several weeks ago and I can tell you that it can be very trying emotionally; even for someone that has always been emotionally strong.  It’s been said that you really never miss something until it is gone, and yes that is true in the case of people as well.  When someone you love dies slowly over a period of time and you see them gradually change into something that really is almost unrecognizable from what they used to be or how they used to be.  When you can see the constant pain they are in daily, the discomfort and the uncertainty in their face about what is happening to them every time you visit or see them, it can be very difficult for anyone.  When you see them go through something like this, the inevitable end might be viewed as more of a blessing; after all, part of life is death, isn’t it?

I come from a family of eight; my dad & mom, one sister, four brothers and myself.  Because my siblings and I were all within about eight years apart in age, we grew up very close.  We shared almost everything as well as experiences.  We were not by many using today’s measurements a family of means or even a middle class family, but our parents were good providers and we always had more than enough.  We understood the value of work and we were very happy and content with what we had.  We grew up on a farm in Southwestern Minnesota and at one time or another, had almost every animal you can think of that for a Minnesota farm.  We raised every type of fruit, vegetable or flower this part of the country allowed us to raise…and we loved it (except for picking pickles – seven acres of pickles that is).  Most of us kids played many of the sports you would expect us to play growing up and our parents supported those efforts.  We had a healthy competitive nature amongst ourselves.  Even though we were allowed to play seasonal sports that did not excuse us from the many daily chores we all were required to do; animals needed to be fed, gardens needed to be tended and work needed to get done. We always kept pretty busy.   Because of this work and our playtime together and as well as our tight ages we grew up as a very close family and a family is what helps get you through the tough life events that happen from time-to-time.  When one of us is feeling really down, the others can really help out by simply being there and by them being there they must at some level absorb some of the depressed negative energy you feel and it gets dispersed and becomes much less and you fell better…I like that way of thinking.  I like it when a family can come together and help each other.  I believe that is the way God intended it to work.

The relationships you have with each in a family are very unique.  To start with, other than adoption, you really cannot pick your family.  What I mean is that your mom and dad combined their genes and that created you, you had nothing to do with it; they did the same for your brothers and sisters if you have siblings.  All of your siblings come from your bloodline, and come from your parents.  That makes your relationship unique right from the start.  Now, typically, you all grow up together, spending a lot of time together at an early age; whether you feel you want to or not.  That again makes your family relationship unique to your family.  Next your immediate family may go through some very specific challenges while you are spending all that time together growing up, which is a very impressionable time for children and young adults.  What happens to a family and how they handle it also creates a specific relationship within the members of the immediate family.  Remember, you did not pick this family, it picked you…therefore, I believe that God wanted you to be there for a reason.  A reason you may never come to fully understand.  But you are part of your family, the one you were born into, whatever makeup it is.  Your family relationship is very strong and unique.  So unique, that you can move away for many years, come back with your family and you may find that your parents and siblings somewhat fall into the same rolls you had within the family when you were growing up years ago.  That is a strong relationship, don’t you think? 

There are many other ways that a unique family relationship helps through tough life challenges.  In events of crises or when someone in the family is faced with challenges, the family can be there to support each other.  They share the family history of being together for many years and can almost instantly understand one of the immediate family member’s challenges and what that person might be experiencing.  A family member can help at these times, like no other person can.  In no way does this mean that others, outside of the immediate family, cannot also help.  I just mean that immediate family have a unique understanding of each of the other family members and might understand each other family member better.

Besides the immediate family that you were born into, there are also several other layers making up a strong family.  If your family members are older, you or your siblings might already be married and maybe even have children.  Your spouse, your own children and maybe even their children are also very unique.  You feel it when you hold your spouse or your child or just try holding your first grandchild in your arms and tell me you don’t feel the unique relationship that exists. It’s there, I know…every time I hold my 9 month old granddaughter…just holding her makes many things in life ok.  This family is now surrounding you and in fact you have now started a separate immediate family of your own.  Now you belong to two or maybe even more immediate families.  Each of the members of those families knows you in a different way and may be able to help in challenging times differently.  They may not even have to do anything other than just be there and that helps.  Try to allow your different families to help you.  It may be good for both you and for them.

Still further removed but still members of a family may be your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  In my case, between my mom and dad and their siblings, we had 13 aunts and uncles which multiplied into many many cousins who also had many children and our overall family became very large.  Because you naturally cannot see all of them as often as you may like, the relationship again is unique.  You are brought together because of family births and bloodline and are somewhat pushed into developing a relationship that turns into family friendships.  This type of family relationship, when all its members are brought together can be very supportive.  As in the case I just recently experienced with my father’s passing.  A family can really help.

I am a Christian man so I also believe that God plays the bigger part in how we might deal with things like this.  Our faith in Him and His Son Jesus Christ, along with the Holy Spirit makes us members of another family, one that makes our overall family very strong, especially when we all share that faith.  When your earthly family combines with your Heavenly family, you will be able to get through anything that the world has to throw at you. 

A family helps…a lot.  Make sure to allow them to help you and make sure you help others in your family.  As they say, giving feels better than receiving and I believe it works in families very well.

I wrote this brief article to help me understand better the relationships I had with my family members and to help with my own grief with the death of Dad.  Family is important to me and it should be to you as well.  You only have one. 

May God bless yours!

Gary J. Kiecker

LifeLongU, Inc.