James K. Flanagan passed away on September 3, 2012. He left behind this powerful letter for his 5 grandchildren. In truth, this letter holds great advice for us all…
1. Each one of you is a wonderful gift to your family and to all the world. Remember it always, especially when the cold winds of doubt and discouragement fall upon your life.
2. Be not afraid . . . of anyone or of anything when it comes to living your life most fully. Pursue your hopes and your dreams no matter how difficult or "different" they may seem to others. The worst thing in life is to look back and say: "I would have; I could have; I should have." Take risks, make mistakes.
3. Everyone in the world is just an ordinary person. Some people may wear fancy hats or have big titles or have power and want you to think they are above the rest. Don't believe them. They have the same doubts, fears, and hopes; they eat, drink, sleep, and fart like everyone else.
4. Make a Life List of all those things you want to do: travel to places; learn a skill; master a language; meet someone special. Make it long and do some things from it every year. Don't say "I'll do it tomorrow" (or next month or next year). That is the surest way to fail to do something. There is no tomorrow, and there is no "right" time to begin something except now.
5. Be kind and go out of your way to help people -- especially the weak, the fearful, and children. Everyone is carrying a special sorrow, and they need our compassion.
6. Read books, as many as you can. They are a wonderful source of delight, wisdom, and inspiration. They need no batteries or connections, and they can go anywhere.
7. Travel: always but especially when you are young. Don't wait until you have "enough" money or until everything is "just right." That never happens. Get your passport today.
8. Pick your job or profession because you love to do it. Sure, there will be some things hard about it, but a job must be a joy. Beware of taking a job for money alone -- it will cripple your soul.
9. Don't yell. It never works, and it hurts both yourself and others. Every time I have yelled, I have failed.
10. Live in harmony with Nature: go into the outdoors, woods, mountains, sea, desert. It's important for your soul.
11. Hug people you love. Tell them how much they mean to you now; don't wait until it's too late.
12. Be grateful. There is an Irish saying: "This is a day in our lives, and it will not come again." Live every day with this in mind.
Q1. Do you think it was a good idea for the Granddad to write down his advice? Why?
Q4. How much time do you spend with your grandparents? Do they give you any advice?
Q5. Do you agree with the statement, "Everyone in the world is just an ordinary person." Why/Why not?
Q6. Number 8 says pick a job that you love. What job would you pick and why?
Q7. Number 6 says read books. Do you like reading books? What book would you recommend?
Q8. Number 11 says tell people how much they mean to you now. Have you got a message to someone special in your life?
Q9. What are 3 dreams/things that you would like to achieve in your life?
Q10. Write a sentence, poem or story using the following 3 words: Life - History - Family
I look forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday!