Lessons learned…

or, “What four and a half decades on Earth have taught me.”

Always do your best. Someone is always watching.

I don’t know if my dad said this, or someone else, but it’s something that I’ve always taken to heart. If you take the time to do your job (or whatever) to the best of your ability, training, knowledge, etc., it will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something worthwhile. Sometimes, people who are in a position to make decisions about your future notice your efforts, and you are thus rewarded.

Take the time to learn a little something about everyone you meet.

It’s nice when someone remembers some little factoid about your life. Larry sometimes asks how my mom is, and that makes me smile. Or, I’ll ask someone in a class how they’re feeling if they’ve been out due to illness. And I try to remember people’s birthdays (even if they don’t remember mine). I remember one year, I think it was 2006, I wished Saon a happy birthday, and I was the only one he knew that did. He, on the other hand, probably knows my birthday is in February, but not the date.

Do kind things for strangers, not because you want recognition, but because it’s right.

I’m always doing this, because someone did that for me once. Pay it forward. I’ve given more money to people who are stranded in a strange place more times than I can count, because once, that person was me, and someone helped me. I’ve given people my only umbrella because they didn’t have one and they were soaked, or a spare pair of gloves to someone who doesn’t have any and it’s 20 degrees with a 35 mph wind. If I have it to give, I’ll give it.

Tell your children how much you love them– in front of others.

I remember this one time, I over heard someone talking to their child on the phone, and at the end of the conversation, told this child “I love you”. It was in a room with a few people, and he was unashamed to admit he loved his kid. That touched me, because I never heard that from my father growing up. It was just assumed he did. His generation didn’t express affection openly like we do now. It was just unheard of.

Tell the important people in your life how you feel about them.

Because the last time you see them just may be the last time ever. If I learned anything from the passing of my friend Steve, it’s that. I last saw him in July of 1999. Less than ten years later, he’s gone. I wish I had tried harder to keep in touch.

Lessons learned. More lessons to come. Never stop learning.

That’s all from where I sit.



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