I got a letter from my friend Joe a few weeks ago asking me to do something pretty special. On the occasion of his son Atticus’ thirteenth birthday, he has asked some of his friends to write advice, stories and all sorts of other ideas that Atticus can read, and maybe learn from. I felt honored, and then realized that I had some writing to do. I got down to it, and when I was done I realized that I had actually written a “This I Believe.” So here is what I believe.
There are a few things in my life that have served me well, and I want to share them with you.
First: Become obsessed with music. Not just the kinds that you like, but all of it. The quickest way to understand someone is to understand what kind of music they love. Knowing and understanding all kinds of music will open doors to people and friends that you may other wise miss out on.
In a similar vein, people that only like pop music are scary. Do your best to help them. They need it.
Second: Never stop loving books. Very few people seem to be wired to love books like you and I are. Absolutely everything you could ever want to know is in a book. Everything from how to blow stuff up to how to raise a child is in a book.
Loving books puts you a step ahead of everyone who says, “I hate reading.” Never miss an opportunity to mock people who say that, unless they have a disability or something, that’s just not cool.
Third: Believe in something. No matter what you choose to believe stick to your guns, and don’t let anyone tell you that you are wrong. Faith and belief are personal, and no one should ever try to force you into changing your mind.
Fourth: Respect all life, human, animal, earth. It is all important and God made it all. Most importantly, to me at least, is that the unborn child and the death row inmate are one in the same. They are both human life and the anti-abortion advocate that embraces the death penalty is a hypocrite.
Fifth (Next to last I promise): No governments, no kings. Don’t trust those that abuse their power. IF you have doubts about them, investigate them. Live with as little as possible, live by your own rules, so that you don’t make a blip on the radar. Don’t be an idiot about it, but doubt everything that your government tells you. And don’t buy into everything that every nut job tells you. Doubt is healthy, paranoia is not.
Sixth: When you fall in love with a woman that is amazing enough to love you back. Do not give her up. No matter what. IF the love is real you will regret it for the rest of you life, and that is an awful feeling. So stick with her.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.