Letter to My Daughters - #42

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Letter to My Daughters - #42 Andy Barwick

To The Greatest Love of My Life,

Make mistakes, please. Never strive for perfection in any effort but always do your best. I say this not because perfection doesn’t exist, I say this because perfection is constantly redefined in your eyes and the eyes of others. Many times perfection is in the imperfect. It is in what society sees as flawed or not for public consumption. The truth is, we are all imperfect. Embracing the beauty within the “imperfect” is one of the most beautiful things you will find. 

See the world through your own eyes but always be curious as to how everyone else sees the world. This may be through conversation, through art, through reading and even through the suffering of others. You know that your father suffered a great deal in life. You don’t need to be reminded of that. I want you to go forward with your own story of life, not mine. What I do want you to carry forward is this piece of learning. Do not be defined by suffering. In fact, do not be defined by the ordinary, your job, your possessions or anything that isn’t really you. This is a lesson that has to be repeated infinitely in every generation. Define yourself by what gives you life, what makes you feel alive, how you truly live and not only by what you do for a living. Constantly challenge what defines you to be the best person you can be in making this world a better place. 

Always give first what you could buy. This doesn’t mean buy someone a house instead of buying a house for yourself. This means that always give to this world more than you take from it. Be a good steward of what you are given. This means giving to those less fortunate, to those in need and to those that are suffering. If you do not have financial means to give, always remember that the greatest gift you can give to mankind is the gift of service. Always be of service to others. Giving money is easy. We can forget what goes behind it passing over the true need. Being of service to someone takes an act of humility,grace and mercy. It is truly the greatest gift you can ever bestow upon another human being. 

Never say that you are blessed when have material possessions or have a financial windfall. Because if you say that you are blessed, this means that you are chosen by the universe to receive more than someone else, that you are better than someone else that you are more deserving than someone else. If you do use the term blessed, you must also use the word cursed if things don’t go right in your life. So I say this not to shun or judge those that say the word blessed but to keep in mind that people are chosen for certain things in life. Some are chosen to go through suffering and to go through great sadness. With great suffering, we are given the gift to pause life, examine it and teach others what we have learned so they do not have to suffer to learn this gift we have been given. That is not a curse. Some people are given great wealth and are given an easy life. But with great wealth and with great fortune comes great responsibility to help others. What I am saying in the end, is to always be thankful for what you have whether it be plentiful or very little. Always have gratitude for anything that is given to you whether great or small. Find the good in everything. Above all, always be thankful.

Always read. Throughout your life be hungry for knowledge, be hungry to learn from others. Our greatest lessons are from those that have experienced before us. I always say, “the hardest lesson I have learned in life is that you don’t have to learn things the hard way”. As my good friend Jen Pastiloff says, “be a tireless listener”. Always listen before speaking and wait your turn. Listening to someone is an act of putting them before you. Listening is an act of respecting what another has to say. With that being said, you should not be afraid of expressing your opinion or your thoughts on the matter. Because your thoughts and your reactions are just as important. Learning this lesson is something wonderful to have early on. Reading and listening to others is something that has to be repeated every generation because the knowledge isn’t passed down. Strive for a world to where everyone possesses knowledge and ignorance cannot be used as an excuse. 

These are my thoughts for today, October 1, 2014

With all my love, 

Dad

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