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Sat, Nov. 16

Column: Granddaddyism-21

This is another installment of Granddaddyisms I shared with my oldest grandson when he was a teenager.

• Dylan, it's clear to me you are living a good, honorable life. There are two reasons why this is important. First of all, you can enjoy life now and not be filled with apprehension or worry about dire consequences of stupid actions and decisions. The other benefit is that later in life as you look back on these adolescent years, you can enjoy them again. You won't really appreciate this reality for another several decades, but you will. I promise.

• When someone says to you, "Let me be frank," or "Let me be honest with you," get your guard up and put your trust level at a low level. In my experience, honest people don't have to tell you.

• Outside of family, you can only be loved, Dylan, when you risk initiating the relationship.

• You need to develop a strategy for coping with change. Here are a few thoughts that might get you started: revere ritual, but feel free to revise; fight atrophy, but feel free to age; enjoy sunsets, but rejoice with sunrises. Mellow forward gently, adapting to new realities while

holding fast to treasured memories.

• I have no doubt, Dylan, that you are going to be successful in life. Your underpinnings are solid and substantial. One way of measuring success is by determining what you have to give up in order to get it. However, there is also the matter of defining just what success is. We live in a society where far too many people equate success with the accumulation of money and possessions. I believe there is a better measure: to equate success with how valuable you are to society. You are valuable when you serve others selflessly and make a positive difference in their lives. You are valuable when you show compassion for others, especially those who are suffering or hungry or are victims of injustice. You are valuable when you confront the social structures that cause poverty, suffering and injustice. You are valuable when you stand up and speak out against practices and policies that favor the rich and powerful and deny equal treatment to those who are not.

• Try to understand, Dylan, that no one can make you angry without your consent, but you can be happy without another person's aid.

• Learning from your mistakes without dwelling on them is one of the toughest things to learn. Our capacity for self-flagellation is considerable.

• The best books you will ever read will be those that hold up a mirror before you.

• I believe each of us owe a debt to those who have given us a better, more civilized world to live in. I believe each of us should try to repay this debt by leaving it a bit better than we found it. If one chooses to have children, I hope they will be raised to feel this commitment.

• Of the many gifts you have been given, Dylan, I believe wonder, imagination and dreams are likely to be among the most treasured you will ever receive. I hope you will nurture each of them. Your life will be drab without these three gifts.

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