My beloved father’s life exemplified the adage, actions speak louder than words. Because he had a teacher’s heart (he taught electrical engineering at Pitt University in the 1950’s,), he passed along his positive thoughts to his six children.


undated letter

Dear children,

The other day I was at the doctor’s getting my annual physical. He and I got talking about a lot of things. He is about 45 and says he doesn’t have any biking patients or people who are as healthy as me or have such a positive outlook on life. He asked me, “What do you atttribute your outlook on life to be?” I stopped to think

I stopped to think and I said genes, but he said,” No. There is more that that to how your structured your life. Think about it.”

I did and now you are getting the benefit of my thinking whether you want it or not. I am sure no one wrote them out for me; they just evolved with experience and seeing things that worked for other people or made sense. Nothing is original except me writing them down.

I finally reduced it to five things Your mother will say that I reduce everything to numbers, but that is how I think. Here are the five things with a thought or two about each.

  1. Most important: realize that without good health, nothing else matters.
  2. Realize the long-term implications of friendships.
  3. Since work takes up so much of our adult lives, find and follow your dream.
  4. Money does not buy happiness but how you handle it says a lot about your values and goals in life.

    Work makes up so much of our lives; make the choice to follow your dream.

    Work makes up so much of our lives; make the choice to follow your dream.

  5. Finally, take care of our  your relationships, particularly in your family.

Good Health

Health is largely based upon what you did yesterday. There is no better time to start taking care of yourself than today! You don’t need to excel in a particular activity. Training your muscles to be strong is about balance and coordination.

Limit the risk of disease by seeing everything you eat as something that is going to be part of you for the rest of your life. Is it a healthy nutrient that will build muscle or bone? Or is it junk that will clog your arteries and lead to deterioration down the road?

It is also important to approach your thoughts and activities in the same way you do food and exercise. Look at each part of the day as an interesting challenge. Make each experience as fulfilling as it can be by doing it with enthusiasm and effort.

There are two foremen in your mind. One is in charge of getting things done and the other is in charge of why things can’t be done. Never give any work to the guy in charge of why things can’t be done.

The long-term implications of friendship.

There is no substitute for the people who are your friends for life. Obviously, the only way to have such friendships later is to cultivate them yourself. Value your friends and remember that true friendship involves giving and taking and jointly experiencing things.

Follow your photo

Work makes up so much of our lives. Make the choice to follow your dream. Everyone has a dream, but too often your family of other pressures squelch it. If you are not sure anymore of your dream, just look at what you like to do naturally and the things you fantasize about. If you’re not into something that you like, you will not have the focus, the enthusiasm and the determination to do the work required to be an expert. And even if you did, you would not feel good and over time, you would not be nice to be around.

It’s important to remember that life is about balance, So while trying to make your dream come true, don’t forget to play and be with friends You want others to respect you, so don’t ever do anything that you could not talk about publicly later. Look at the current headlines about generals and presidents!

Money does not buy happiness in life.

People who are not satisfied with what they do or with the people or things around the, use money as a substitute. I am not saying that money doesn’t matter. It does. We all want a reasonable level of security, comfort, and enjoyment. To get that, we need money.

To develop a healthy attitude towards money, everyone needs to determine what he/she wants in life. You can’t stagnate. You must keep growing and that means your goals will change over time.

Never stop reading books. That is how you grow. Every age should be one of personal growth—perhaps in different directions—but growth.

Do not neglect long-term savings. Even relatively small amounts saved regularly will reap large rewards. I am amazed at what we did with a little at a time. Every time I got a cost of living adjustment, we saved half of the increase. Remember that chart I sent you. If you invest $1,000 a year for five years and never invest another dime, you will have a quarter million dollars in twenty-five years.

Don’t forget charity. Remember that no matter how bad you think you have it, there are others who have it worse. Make a contribution of money or service or both. God said you’ll be happier and healthier if you give to others.

“Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (TLB, Isaiah 58:10-11)

Take care of your relationships in your family.

I have rivalries in my mother’s family and my father’s family. It is sad to see minor differences tear a family apart. So reconcile any differences and learn to compromise. Consider other’s viewpoints. Life is too short for bad feelings in a family. A family has dozens of ways that they help each other. I will be very disappointed if you all don’t work at it.

Feel free to share these thoughts but do your own ruminating about them.