Lessons from 12-year olds

I have been blessed with several life coaches throughout my decades on earth.  Some of the most important were about 12 years old, as I was.  This is what they taught me.

  1. Kathy taught me: Boys and girls can be friends, and their friendships develop with different types of sharing, including letter writing over years. The written word matters.
  2. Mark taught me: Leadership means to be true to yourself; those who want to follow can. Don’t aim for followers, aim for authenticity. Never stray from that path.
  3. Jeb taught me: Be spirited, adventurous and align with your interests, not the “age group” others expect you to be in. (In youth, don’t be afraid to play above your age, and in later years, don’t be afraid to play below your age.)
  4. Luke taught me: Studiousness and intelligence can live harmoniously with activity and play. One does not have to choose between being a scholar and being active, enjoying play as much as enjoying learning.
  5. Brian taught me: Stand up for those who can’t defend themselves. Life will present many opportunities when one has to stand up for others in various ways.
  6. Chip taught me: Accept consequences and don’t blame others for situations or challenges. No matter what happens, find within yourself the integrity to own your part of the situation and work to improve it.

I rely on those lessons today, as I have for the more-than-half-century since I learned them. They remind me that wisdom comes from all corners and at all times of life. We cannot throw out the lessons of yore for the lessons of today; wisdom is borne in the mix of influences. It comes as no surprise that in my motivational presentations, I often use kid stories in which wisdom and depth are found. Harken back to lessons you have learned in the past and be open to wisdom shared by all you meet today.

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