Two weeks ago I came across the six core beliefs of President Harry S. Truman:
1) Work hard. 2) Do your best. 3) Speak the truth. 4) Have no airs. 5) Trust in God. 6) Have no fear. I spent some time reflecting on those. Then last week I was asked to speak to the 77 eighth graders at Metro Catholic School in Cleveland. With Truman’s beliefs in mind, I came up with five pieces of advice for those kids on the verge of their graduation. Here they are–along with a few words about each one:
1) Know yourself, be yourself, like yourself.
I reminded them that each of them is unique. Their DNA proves that. I also told them: “The only person who will be with you your entire life is yourself. You’d better learn to like yourself!”
2) Choose good friends.
I gave them G. Gordon’s definition of a friend: “Someone who comes in when the whole world has gone out.” I reminded them of the recipe for having a friend: be one.
3) Help other people.
Our society seems to say happiness means being rich, famous or powerful. But Jesus tells us that happiness is found in loving and serving others. Jesus washes the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper demonstrating how his disciples are to serve others.
4) Count your blessings.
There are many things evil and wrong with our world. But there are many things good and right with our world. Focus on the good–in others, in situations, in the world, and in yourself. Every night before you go to bed, thank God for three things.
5) Talk to God every day.
God loves you more than anyone else does. Stay close to God. Talk to God about what’s going on in your life and in your heart. In difficult moments, seek God. In happy moments, praise God. In painful moments, trust God.
What are your core beliefs? What advice would you give others about living a good life?