The following is a wonderful article from a book from 1947. The book’s title, Words to Live By, sums up this author’s thoughts perfectly. They are, indeed, words to live by. The author, Will Durant, wrote these ten rules for his own grandchildren – but, as you’ll see, many of the rules apply to people of all ages.
Send a list to your own children and/or grandchildren. For that matter, send it to everyone you know. Personally, I think the world would be a much better place if every single one of us read through… then lived out… the following grandfatherly advice.
FOR VERY YOUNG PHILOSOPHERS
by Will Durant
EDITOR’s NOTE: Mr. Durant, as everyone knows, is the distinguished author of an impressive list of important books, including the multivolumed The Story of Civilization. But when we asked him to contribute some thoughts to the “Words to Live By” page, he stepped out of his role as philosopher and historian into that of grandfather. The advice he gives here was written for his own three grandchildren.
- Begin the day with cleanliness. Keep your bathroom immaculate.
- Before leaving your room in the morning put all discarded clothing into a dresser or a closet.
- Dress yourself neatly; other people can judge us only by what they see, until they know us well; and their judgments will affect our progress and our happiness.
- Enter into the life of the family and the community with good cheer; make little of your troubles, much of your good fortune.
- Do not speak while another is speaking. Discuss, do not dispute. Absorb and acknowledge whatever truth you can find in opinions different from your own.
- Be courteous and considerate to all, especially to those who oppose you.
- Reduce to a minimum your reading, hearing, and watching of material intended for immature minds. The mind is formed by what it takes in. Don’t be a wastebasket.
- Do some studying every day; grow old while learning.
- Combine external modesty with internal pride. Your modesty will make it easier for those around you to bear with you; your internal pride will stir you to shun meanness and sloth.
- You will find the Golden Rule the simplest and surest secret of happiness.
Reduce to a minimum your reading, hearing, and watching of material intended for immature minds. The mind is formed by what it takes in. Don’t be a wastebasket. Leave it to a grandfather to beautifully sum up what the rest of us have been trying to convey for two forevers. I love this!