Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dad's Rules of the Road: Don't Drop Out of High School Like I Did

More from the Junior High School speech in '77:

Certain rules seem important to me in living a successful life. I don't remember every putting them on paper before and I do know that I don't consciously tell them as one tells rosary beads. They are a matrix upon which I daily embroider the patterns of my life. They are the rules I measure my conduct by.

  1. Have, and understand, your religious philosphy
  2. Be loyal to yourself and have in mind a priority of loyalties.
  3. Select role models -- heroes or heroines to emulate, both contemporary and
  4. Continue your education.
  5. Be conscious of physical health.
  6. Have planned recreation.
  7. Spend less than you earn.
  8. To explain my rules a little:

You live in an area where more religions are practiced than anywhere on earth. To be a leader you must have a grasp of and appreciation for these values in the lives of others. You should have a position, a belief; and hopefully be comfortable with that belief so that you are not unsettled by other beliefs.

  1. You are who you are today -- and the person you will be tomorrow and into the future. Only you can protect the future of the person you will be at 30, 40, 50 and 100. If you smoke today, you hurt the 50-year old you will be.

  2. We all choose heroes or heroines. Who you choose identifies what your goals are and helps you make the hard decisions. My heroes have always been gentle and caring men. I have tried to read a lot about them to find out how they solved problems. General Robert E. Lee is an example of one of my heroes. He freed his slaves before the war and did not believe in secession. He was offered command of the Union Army but declined. He said his loyalty was to the State of Virginia and he must go with the people of his state. he fought for a cause he didn't believe in -- brilliantly, with courage and enthusiasm and without regret. His priority of loyalties was clearly defined.
  3. Education comes more after school than during it. School is just the foundation on which to build. I left school at the end of the 11th grade and did not return except to go to night law school. Between those years, I educated myself by using the library, attending lectures, reading good magazines and seeing good plays and movies. I took courses from public television and enrolled in employer education courses. had I finished school and college, my career would have been dramatically different. It was an error in judgment not to do so.
  4. If you wish to earn your living with your brain and not your strong back, physical condition is important. It is a measure of your good judgment visible to all. Good health sustains hours of alert concentration with fewer hours of rest. it allows an air of self-confidence and poise so important in leadership.
  5. Failure to plan recreation inerferes with creative thinking. Problem solving often requires the solver to leave th eproblem alone for a period or risk falling into tunnel vision. the same simple mistake is often repeated over and over. A withdrawal from the problem allows a fresh approach and imaginative solutions to be explored. A balance between family loyalties and work loyalties is inhibited by a failure to take recreation breaks. Support from the family is absolutely essential to a successful leader.

  6. Capitalism is the adult game. It is possible to earn more than you can spend. Many movie stars have proven that you can earn a fortune and reach old age in poverty. As a leader, your decisions should be based on your judgment as to the most practical solution to the immediate problem. If your judgment is warped because you owe more than you can earn, you soon fall into the trap of making decisions are good for your finances but bad for your future. Remember the old man or woman that you will be is depending on you.

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