Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Mario V. Farina
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Dedicated to Ann: The Love in my Life
Many of us don’t get a good start in learning how to begin and live a life well worth living. Unfortunately, the facts on how to do this are learned gradually over time and, often, when it’s too late.
It would be a great blessing if all of us could be assigned a spiritual mentor from Heaven to stand by our side as we’re growing up, and advise on how to make the wisest moves and decisions. The mentor idea is, of course, impossible; so, during a good deal of the time, we’re on our own in mastering this important matter.
Relying on parents might not be a practical approach. Many parents may not, themselves, know how to live a life well lived. In some families, there may be little or no parent involvement since they are too busy trying to live their own lives as best they can.
What is there for a child of twelve to do in learning the subject matter? There is no course in school entitled, “Building a Life Well Worth Living 101.” Too often, the child believes that it’s all right to drift along, letting the random currents of life control the way he or she lives, learns, and plans for the future. This is a pity for the old maxim phrased by the poet, Alexander Pope, is so true, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”
I mentioned a child of age twelve. I believe this is the age when a person begins realizing that he or she will soon become an adult and, therefore, fully responsible for his or her actions. I feel this is a critical point in a person’s life. It’s too easy and too tempting for the child to make mistakes, some of which may affect the rest of the individual’s life.
Do I have plan for avoiding a “twig” being bent in the wrong direction? I have some ideas but do not claim that they will work well with everyone. I mentioned a course entitled “Building a Life Well Worth Living 101.” Why can’t a mandatory course with this title, be taught by competent instructors, in the education of every child?
I believe that, with students of this age, building a life well worth living begins with learning certain basic principles, principles involving honesty, healthful living, education, investing, work ethics, and others. Follow up electives should be available, courses with titles like, “Living Healthfully,” “Education, Education, Education,” “Civic Responsibilities,” “Investing for Retirement,” “Wise Money Management,” “Maintaining Good Credit,” and others. In this way, youngsters could be informed even before becoming teenagers, and convinced that certain activities like avoiding smoking, using drugs, stealing, quitting school, and others are unwise, and that certain other activities like investing for the future, using care in selecting friends, seeking knowledge, being of service to society, and others are desirable.
I know there may be a certain amount of naïveté in what I’m saying. However, at age 92, I feel that I’ve learned much about what are the ingredients necessary in building a life well worth living and am qualified to, at least, express my ideas on the subject for whatever good they might accomplish. There may already be courses similar to “Building a Life Well Worth Living 101” that some schools are teaching. If so, I’m happy. However, what I’m saying could still be important for some areas of the country.
I feel that attempting to bend the twig of a child too late would have little or no effect, but if done in a timely manner, could make huge differences in some people’s lives.
Alexander Pope wrote, "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree." This books discusses bending the twig in the correct direction with a child on the verge of adulthood. So far as I know, there is no mandatory course taught in schools entitled "Build a Life Well Worth Living 101." Shouldn't there be be? As the twig is built early on in a child's life, so shall the child have a better chance of building a life well worth living.