Saturday, January 24, 2009

Column 8: 12 words to live by.

About 2 months ago, I was at a ‘Unity in the community’ event & I had the opportunity to hear a speech by a very wise man. He was in his 80’s, I believe, & he has traveled the world (52 countries, 80 000 photos taken) & he gave us 12 words to live by:
Don’t beg. Don’t borrow. Don’t steal. Spend less. Work Harder. Love more.
He had such an impact on me. Ever since, I have tried to follow his bout of advice. When others might have seen a senile old man, with an African garb & a walking cane, I saw wisdom. In my culture (both of them) elders are an integral part of the society. In North America, they are given such little value, placed in elderly homes & reclused from society. In Poland & Congo, You don’t see that phenomena. Elders take care of children, when the parents are at work; they pass on their wisdom about the small things of life (cooking, cleaning, and gardening) & the deeper things (marriage, child rearing, and relationships). This eliminates the need for nurseries. The child is surrounded by family members, all day & every day. This is how I was raised, & I have the utmost respect & love for my grandmother. She went through so many things in her life but never lost her goodness. I struggle every day to follow her path to kindness, strength & patience. So when this older man spoke, I listened with my heart & my head, because I am but a child & I am open to others' knowledge. His ultimate message was: SIMPLIFY your LIFE. Give meaning to your daily interactions, work hard for what you want, spend less, stop borrowing $ you don't have & cut the credit cards, don't beg for things or another's affection, Love more; your friend, your parent, your lover. Do not steal, because hithero, you steal integrity & kindness from yourself.



Retromus-ik said...

Great post. In North America, there is very little respect given to the elderly; which is why the Africans I know plan on going back to Africa when they get older. It's also a more relaxing life style there; depending on the area of course and your economical status. Growing up, I always wished that I had my grandma around...I saw her for the first time at 19 years old. Better late than never of course!;)

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

So eloquently spoken. You are also very wise!