Recently my 18-year-old son left Australia for a two-year church mission in the United States. Before he left, he received all sorts of well wishes from friends and family. These messages were great, but I thought that giving him some fatherly advice was more my style; advice which I hoped could really impact his perspective on life. So I wrote down this advice for my son to keep close by and review whenever he needed to.
After writing this advice – these “life lessons” in resilience, motivation and purpose – I realised that they were something I should include in my own daily routine. This prompted me to put together my own collection of personal affirmations, which I look forward to sharing with you in a future post.
But this was my parting advice to my boy:
‘Son, while you are away, take some time to reflect on these points:
Live every day with purpose
Having purpose will help you to keep going when you may otherwise give up. Getting really clear on what it is you want to achieve – coming back to the “why” – will help you stay on course, even through the roughest waters.
Practice gratitude and empathy every day
Happiness comes from within. Learn to be grateful for what you have, not resentful for what you don’t have. Seek to understand others, and strive to impact them in a positive way.
Build strength and resilience through adversity. Resilience is like a muscle which grows with exercise.
Leave everything better than you found it
Remember where you came from, question everything, forge your own destiny.
Remember what made you who you are. Don’t accept ‘that’s just the way it is’. You have the power to create your own path.
Lead by example, be guided by wisdom, participate in life
Always treat others with the same respect and dignity that you would expect from them. Listen to the counsel of those who have walked your path before, and let their wisdom guide you. You will never have this moment again, so be present and surrender to the power of “now”.
Aspire to be better every day. Inspire those around you, and you will transform the lives of many
Serve unselfishly, create value and inspiration for others. Your actions can change lives, so always strive to leave a positive impact on the people you meet.
Know that you are not alone. Be comforted in the knowledge that you have the continued support of your family, friends and members of the church. You will only ever be as distant as your thoughts, memories and prayers.