More than two-dozen “lessons for life” were outlined in a book written by Marian Wright Edelman, best known for her position as president of the Children’s Defense Fund.
Edelman wrote the book as a letter to her own children, but the wisdom that permeates it can serve as a lesson for us all.
The first lesson is quite simple: There is no free lunch. Don’t feel entitled to anything you don’t sweat and struggle for.
She writes: “Each American adult and child must struggle to achieve, and not think for a moment that America has got it made.”
Especially in the days of instant fame and celebrity through the sports and entertainment fields, it is sometimes difficult for young people to keep their lives and their goals in perspective.
Edelman reminds us that rewards are so much richer and more fulfilling if we have earned them through our own hard work.
She says we must teach our children, by example, not to wobble and jerk through life, but to take care and pride in work, and to be reliable.
A life well lived is embodied in those who serve others, who share their successes, and who give back to those who have helped them.
Many of us know of philanthropists who have accumulated great wealth but are moved to share it in ways that benefit others.
Those we admire most are those who do it quietly without fanfare or without need for public acknowledgment. They do it not for self-glory, but for what they see as the public good.
It’s a good value to instill in all our children.