* There is no free lunch. Don't feel entitled to anything you don't sweat and struggle for.
* Set goals and work quietly and systematically towards them. We must all try to resist quick-fix, simplistic answers and easy gains, which often disappear as quickly as they come.
* Assign yourself. Don't wait around for your boss or co-worker or spouse to direct you to do what you are able to figure out and do for yourself.. Don't do just as little as you can to get by.
* Never work just for money or for power. They won't save your soul or build a decent family or help you sleep at night.
* Don't be afraid of taking risks or of being criticized. An anonymous said, "If you don't want to be criticized, don't say anything, do anything, or be anything." Don't be afraid of failing. It's the way you learn to do things right.
* Take parenting and family life seriously and insist that those you work for and who represents you do.
* Remember that your wife is not your mother or your maid, but your partner and friend. Learn and practice the sharing of family responsibilities.
* Forming families is serious business. It requires a measure of thoughtful planning and commitment.
* Be honest. Struggle to live what you say and preach. Be moral examples for your children. If you as parents cut corners, your children will too. If you lie, they will too.
* Remember and help people remember that the fellowship of human beings is more important than the fellowship of race and class and gender in a democratic society.
* Sell the shadow for the substance. Don't confuse style with substance. There is nothing wrong with wanting a BMW or nice designer clothe. But BMW is not an advanced degree and a designer clothe or Jacket is not a life goal or a worth life. Nobody ever asks what kind of car Ralph Bunche or Reinhold Niebuhr drove or who designed Martin Luther King, Jr.'s or Dorothy Day's clothes or who built Mary McLeod Bethune's or Lloyd Garrison's house. Don't confuse style with meaning. Get your inside in order and your direction clear first and then worry about your clothes and your wheels. You may need them less.
* Never give up. Never think life is not worth living. I don't care how hard it gets. An old proverb reminds: "When you get to your wit's end, remember that God lives there."
I will be posting a second part. Which of these lessons do you agree or disagree with?