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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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Can You Be A Philanthropist?

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Can You Be A Philanthropist?

Many of us may think of philanthropy as something done by billionaires like John D Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Warren Buffet or Bill Gates who may have initially, set up foundations to outlast themselves.  That certainly is philanthropy working on a large scale and very helpful.   But in reality, philanthropy is practiced every day by thousands of people.  People giving their excess to a needy situation that will help right now and is very satisfying to them and their recipient today.

Some of the very large foundations being created or in existence today have a new business model, one where the foundation may not outlast its founder; one that more closely follows an individual’s day-to-day model. They want to be in control of how their excess gets re-distributed, not leave it to someone to do it later. The Lord blessed them with excess and with that comes a certain level of stewardship and responsibility to help those in need (Note:  not those with less, but those in need) (Read, “An Unconventional Billionaire is Revolutionizing Philanthropy by Closing His Foundation)  Many people like to give and many more people would like to have a say in where that gift gets placed or maybe even how it is used, right away.  Understanding where the donation went, who it helped and what impact on the needy did it have is a large key to attracting donations.

There are many occasions in the world that requires another’s consideration.  This attention can come in many forms and most of us think of this as a donation.  The donations of your time, of your things, of your knowledge and of your money are all needed by others.  The National Center for Charitable Statistics says there were 1,429,801 tax-exempt organizations (966,599 public charities, 96,584 private foundations, 366,618 other types) in the United States alone as of June, 2014. With that many charities around, matching a donation with the right recipient or the right organization can be a challenge.

Making the donations in an area you feel needs help is also a challenge.  Do people always come first?  What about the animals that are in need?  Surely the people come before the animals, right?  What about the environment?  Where does that fit in?

In Genesis 1:28, the Bible states, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  Then again in Genesis 2:15 the Bible further says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it”.

Clearly, it is our responsibility to take care of the animals, the environment and each other.

So why do still see so many in need in the world, so many opportunities to give, to donate?  Well first, the charities listed above represent only those in the United States, not the world and the US only represents about 5% of the world’s population. But even in the US, with all those charitable organizations, we still have many opportunities and more occasions to give of our abundant excess.

In Deuteronomy 15:11, the Bible states, “There will always be poor people in the land”, and in Matthew 26:11 Jesus says, “The poor you will always have with you.”

It is clear; we will always have those in need.  It is our responsibility to try and fill those needs as best we can.  Most of us have been in need at one time or another in our lives and maybe that time will come again for some of us.  A “Good Samaritan” may be needed, and hopefully, one will show up.  Hopefully, you will be one of them for someone else.

Several years ago, I volunteered at a local food distribution charity where we broke down large bins of food into small family sized portions that got re-distributed out to those in need.  This seemed to me to be a worthy cause and I was excited to do my share.  After about an hour of working with a group of others and feeling comfortable and happy doing a good thing, I began to notice that we could be running much more efficiently and get much more accomplished.  I wondered why some basic automation had not taken over the jobs almost all our group was doing, so I asked the lead person who worked at this organization that very question.  They stated bluntly, that we have so many people that want to volunteer here, that doing everything by hand gives them something to do and makes them all happy, so we don’t automate these processes.  That answer really made me feel that what I was doing was not helping at all, only making myself feel good about me.

The point I would like to make here is to make sure you understand why you are practicing philanthropy and how are you practicing it.  If you truly want to help, make sure that the wants of the needy are the focus of your generous donation, whatever that is, and you are not simply just out to make yourself feel good.

What do you have to give?  Time?   Money?   Knowledge?   Things?

Give wisely, but give!  It is one of the secrets to true happiness!

 

Here are four very helpful websites where you can quickly learn more about many charities around the world.

American Institute of Philanthropy

The 50 Largest US Charities

List of Charitable Foundations

Charity Vault

 

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU™