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5 pieces of advice to the world

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Nicrez

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I got an e-mail on Monday (you know those chain letters, which I hate!) filled with "advice for the world." Sound things. Kind of Baz Luhrman-esque, like the "wear sunscreen..."

Actually my friend''s aunt is sick with a terminal illness (ovarian cancer) and she leaves behind a young daughter. I had sent her the e-mail and she mentioned it to her aunt, and it became the impetus behind her writing her daughter a letter of directives and advice as she grows up. Really chilling, but very touching.

Well it got me thinking, what 5 maxims would you give to your unborn children or the world for that matter if you had everyone''s attention?

What is everyone''s universal wisdom?

You could be 89 or 19, everyone has learned something in their life, and it''s intersting to share that...
 

poptart

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I''m so sorry about your friend''s aunt. It is hard to watch someone slip away from cancer. I hope that they get through this as smoothly as possible. My one piece of advice would be to practice respect for yourself and the world around you. If we''d done that as a species, we might not be in the place we are today.

*M*
 

Nicrez

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She was in her second remission for a while, but the doctors said she would be gone at 37 and strange as it is, she is turning 37. I have to say it is something the family has been bracing for for a while. It was a huge deal that she even got pregnant. Her husband and her had a very difficult time with that decision. It was a gamble knowing how she had the chance of not surviving it. Now I think they are both glad that they did, but it''s bittersweet. There is ALWAYS hope, but I think at this stage they are no longer optimistic. My poor friend has been babysitting and I have to say she is very very lucky they have a strong (and large) family network. The little girl will be very well taken care of.
 

FireGoddess

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That is just so tragic. Very heartbreaking to hear. But the impetus for her writing letters to her child is very, very good. I can''t remember where I saw this but I did hear of a similar story, and the woman filmed videotapes that the child was to play each year as she grew up. A way of her mom still ''being there'' for her. A very brave, thoughtful, and priceless thing for her to do.
 

Madam Bijoux

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What a shame about your friend''s aunt. I hope they find a cure for that disease.

The best piece of wisdom I ever heard is in the commencement speech from the musical "Carousel" by Rogers & Hammerstein, and it says:

"The world belongs to you as much as to the next fella.
Don''t give it up, an'' try not to be scared of people not
liking you, just try likin'' them. Just keep your faith an''
courage an'' you''ll come out right."
 

Skippy123

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I am sorry about your friend; that is very sad.

This is actually in my high school year book by my picture; I try to live by this. It might be cheesy but we only live once so why not make it a pleasant visit, plus I think kindness is contagious.

I shall pass this way but once, therefore, whatever good I might do,
Let me do it now, for I will never pass this way again.
UNKNOWN POET
 

Shay37

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I am so sorry to hear of this impending loss. It is a tragedy.

My advice would be Love hard and do not surrender to the inevitable.

shay
 

eks6426

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My first husband, the father of my child, did the letter writing before he passed away from cancer. My son was 5 when his father died. He is now 10. His dad wrote a series of letters for each year of life until my son is 21. Some of them are filled with the wisdom type things. But a lot of it are silly things about himself. It is interesting, but my son really appreciates knowing the little stuff about his dad. His grandparents, uncle & myself tell him the "big picture" type things about his dad, but it would never occur to us to tell him that his favorite book in 4th grade was such and such. The letters and their details really bring "daddy" alive for my son. Just a thought for anyone of you who would ever be in this very unfortunate and sad circumstance.
 

Nicrez

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Wow, that is such a touching story, thanks for sharing...It almost made me cry! (which is sort of a no-no at work?)

I like that he wrote personal things that helped your son know him better. Those things are what make a person human, and as a child you see your parents as almost superhuman, you never expect them to falter, be weak or even die. We all have to come to that sad realization sometime, but in the end, their frailty makes us appreciate them more. Makes us want to not be mad, just in case we never see them again, makes us want to take care of them when they are down or weak.

I sincerely hope no one ever has to write such letters because you''ll never see your children again, but in the end, we should do it regardless. I know it seems odd if you''re alive, but maybe sharing that favorite book in 4th grade, and committing it to posterity (alive or dead) is a nice thing for your children? When I was in college, my mother used to send me care packages, and always write little notes. I kept them, and one day while cleaning up and moving i found them. She saw me sitting on the floor with letters littered around me crying and I have to say it''s nice to feel that connection to your parents. I think more people need it than they realize, it might make the world a better place...
 

jcrow

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wow, island. i''m teary reading that. what a wonderful treasure.

i also wanted to add to letters - video. i worked with a girl who lost her terminally ill daughter at a young age - maybe 8 years old. the daughter was video''d by a family friend who asked her various questions and such. it''s an incredible video. every year her mother watches it on her daughter''s birthday.
 

lumpkin

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I am always very sad to hear of a mother leaving behind a young child. It is especially saddening to me. I''m glad she will have a solid family support system. That is in itself a wonderful gift.

My advice would be that life is full of lessons. Be open to whatever lessons your experiences bring to you. Be honest with yourself, search your soul, and always do your personal best. Take responsibility for your decisions and their consequences. When you make mistakes, aknowlege them and learn from them.
 

lawmax

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To love yourself and treat yourself the way that a loving mom would.
 

justjulia

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Date: 4/20/2007 8:55:20 AM
Author: IslandDreams
My first husband, the father of my child, did the letter writing before he passed away from cancer. My son was 5 when his father died. He is now 10. His dad wrote a series of letters for each year of life until my son is 21. Some of them are filled with the wisdom type things. But a lot of it are silly things about himself. It is interesting, but my son really appreciates knowing the little stuff about his dad. His grandparents, uncle & myself tell him the ''big picture'' type things about his dad, but it would never occur to us to tell him that his favorite book in 4th grade was such and such. The letters and their details really bring ''daddy'' alive for my son. Just a thought for anyone of you who would ever be in this very unfortunate and sad circumstance.
ID, this was very moving to read. How wonderful to have those letters.
 

justjulia

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Date: 4/20/2007 10:42:11 AM
Author: SanDiegoLady
I wish my Mom had written such letters. She was 34 when she passed away from colon cancer, I was just eight. Today, I have so few memories from my childhood (much has been ''blocked'' I suppose) and there isn''t a day that goes by that I don''t wish I could have asked a hundred questions just about everything a young lady needs to learn from her Mother. Out of frustration, I still talk to her sometimes.

My Mom was an artist, she had great talent.. I have dozens upon dozens of sketches still in their original binders. Some water colors I was able to salvage from her high school years.. this is all I have and I''m glad for even this..

I try desperately to instill in my kids how much I love them.. because when they look back on life, I want them to giggle about the silly things I said and did. I dont want them to regret not having had a relationship with their Mom.. I always let them know I''m here for them.
Wow, eight. I can''t imagine... That''s tough.
 

Mara

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hmmm interesting question. sorry to hear about your friend''s aunt.

i think the pieces of advice that work best for me are things that might sound kind of cliche but in the end they end up being right. so if people can get past how cliche they sound and think about times in your lives when you might apply these phrases, they typically end up being helpful. when giving advice to a friend, i tend to use these often.

--you have the power to make your own destiny. this means it''s within each of us to be happy or sad or positive or negative etc. often times how you perceive things is how they will end up being...aka positive thinking vs negative...can really change a situation.

--the past is often an indicator on how the future will be...unless you do something to modify or change that. you may or may not want to, aka don''t want to travel down a same path, or don''t want to travel down a new, negative path, or DO want to travel down a new path or the same path. confused yet?

--don''t hold grudges or take things too personally. one of my assets that i am very appreciative of having is that i can get past things really quickly. it just takes WAY too much energy for me to dwell on things. i''d rather just be upset for a minute and give into that feeling, and then just let it go and be zen about it. you can also recognize that the world and people and personalities etc are always in a state of flux. you can go with the flow or just be stuck in the mire.

--this too shall pass. i know this is thrown around a lot and it''s totally cliche but when i look back at times in my life when people have told me this and i kind of shrugged it off or thought ''yeah whatever!''...in the end YES it did pass and typically i was a better person for experiencing and dealing with whatever it is and i typically later would not go back and change it. which leads me to...

--every experience makes you what you are today. i''ve had good and bad happen to me in my life, but i really don''t think i''d go back and change any experiences that i have had or do anything differently. if i change one thing i could change 20 other things about me today and i am happy where i am today.
 

Beacon

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A couple pieces of advice I would give:

Take chances; don''t be afraid.
Go to Paris when you are young.
Save your money, buy good stocks or mutual funds when you are young and keep them.
Drink really, really good wine - not everyday of course, but enuf so you get the idea.
Buy investment pieces of clothing, like Hermes scarves, Chanel bags, Cartier watch. They go up in price every year and will not go out of style.
Take the time to educate yourself about art - go see it IRL, not just in pictures
Cultivate friends of all ages - your age, older, younger. You will learn from all.

Now this piece of advice is just for this little girl and it''s not very pleasant, but here goes: ask the Mom if she is tested for BRCA1, BRCA2 and what was the result. If negative fine. If never tested, two options: test her or test the kid. If the little girl is positive she has a much higher chance of breast and/or ovarian cancer. If she knows her status she can take action when she is older. Given the young age of the terminal mom, there is a good chance of a genetic issue here. Address it; don''t duck.
 

hlmr

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Treat your family better than you treat strangers....

Remember that people are not thinking or talking about you all the time, relax....they have more important things to worry about such as themselves and the impressions they are making.


Take the time to really listen to what people are saying instead of formulating your response while they are talking...

Appreciate what you have, especially your health and your family....nothing else can compare or replace these in your life....

Don''t fixate on things you can''t have or can''t change. Focus your energy in positive directions.....you are worth it!
 

Skippy123

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Julianna

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Date: 4/19/2007 4:18:41 PM
Author: FireGoddess
That is just so tragic. Very heartbreaking to hear. But the impetus for her writing letters to her child is very, very good. I can''t remember where I saw this but I did hear of a similar story, and the woman filmed videotapes that the child was to play each year as she grew up. A way of her mom still ''being there'' for her. A very brave, thoughtful, and priceless thing for her to do.
Oprah is where you saw this story. I''m not a cryer, but I cry every time this episode is run. Not only had she made hundreds of videotapes, but she''d bought presents for her daughter to have for each birthday. A brilliant idea, overall.
 

Cehrabehra

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How sad


I always try to surround myself with people that are "better" than me. I''m not a very patient mentor, but I can use all of the role models I can get!! And by "better" I don''t mean more worthy, I mean more balanced or more organized or more motivated etc. I try to be the most dysfunctional person I know LOL
 

KimberlyH

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1. Know you are responsible for the path you take. Bad things happen to everyone, they should never be used as an excuse for poor choices.
2. Take the time to cultivate and nurture relationships (but only with people who are worthy). Spend time with your spouse, your family, your friends. Give the best of yourself to them.
3. Educate yourself. There is no such thing as aquiring too much knowledge and it''s never a waste, even if all you gain from it is knowing more than you did before.
4. Find what it is you love and invest time in it. If you''re passionate about food, learn to cook; if you''re passionate about cars, learn to build motors; if you love to read, bury yourself in books.
5. Believe that you are: good enough, strong enough, smart enough, capable.
 

Nicrez

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Date: 4/20/2007 9:09:59 PM
Author: Beacon
A couple pieces of advice I would give:

Take chances; don't be afraid.
Go to Paris when you are young.
Save your money, buy good stocks or mutual funds when you are young and keep them.
Drink really, really good wine - not everyday of course, but enuf so you get the idea.
Buy investment pieces of clothing, like Hermes scarves, Chanel bags, Cartier watch. They go up in price every year and will not go out of style.
Take the time to educate yourself about art - go see it IRL, not just in pictures
Cultivate friends of all ages - your age, older, younger. You will learn from all.

Now this piece of advice is just for this little girl and it's not very pleasant, but here goes: ask the Mom if she is tested for BRCA1, BRCA2 and what was the result. If negative fine. If never tested, two options: test her or test the kid. If the little girl is positive she has a much higher chance of breast and/or ovarian cancer. If she knows her status she can take action when she is older. Given the young age of the terminal mom, there is a good chance of a genetic issue here. Address it; don't duck.
Wow, Beacon what excllent advice at the end, I will make sure to alert my friend. They do have a doctor in the family. Not an Oncologist, but a thorasic, so I am hoping they stay on top of the medical issues, but EXCELLENT point! Thanks!

Also, Beacon, will you adopt me? You would make the ideal mom.
So far, I have lived by your advice to the T! LOL....My friends thought I was insane for dropping so much on wine always, but I said that it was just something that needed to be done. Paris: check, Risks: check, Purchasing items of increasing equity value: check, Art IRL: check, Chanel Hermes...CHECK! Check again... ;-) Friends of all ages and walks of life: Check!

This post took on a life of it's own...wow.
 

Nicrez

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Date: 4/24/2007 2:07:09 PM
Author: SanDiegoLady
I thought this was a wonderful post, so I asked a group of ladies I''ve known forever this very thing.. I realize some of their answers are redundant, but here they are nonetheless:

*Live every day like it''s your last
*Never give up on your dreams
*Believe!!!!!
*If you truly love someone, never ever skip a day of telling them that you do.
*Never go to bed mad at each other
*Don''t ever start smoking (this from my friend who is entering her second surgery for tongue cancer)
*Think positive.
*Do your best.
*Stay Focused
*Don''t criticize others
*Be true
*Love Hard, Laugh Hard, and Live right.
*Smile and laugh as much as possible.
*When you make a promise, always try to keep it.
*Aim high.
*Don''t worry about what others think (I am SO bad about doing this )
*Never give up on your dreams (If I had that cute lil'' girl in my siggy would not be there!- From a friend who tried seven years to get pregnant)
*Demand and give respect....never settle for mediocre
*Never underestimate yourself and what you CAN do.
*Be confident, strong and compassionate. (Daily life, work, volunteer time)
*Know in your heart, you can do better than the hand that was dealt to you. *Always strive to ''break the cycle'' of the negative things in your life to help change the lives of those you love down the road.
*Follow your gut instincts.
*Don''t be afraid to admit when you''ve made a mistake. Admitting your own faults can be powerful learning experiences -- that don''t always have to have negative consequences... which can help make you stronger ;-)
*Give as much of yourself that you can. There is no greater gift than giving of your time, love, friendship, coaching, teaching or ... whatever it may be. The rewards don''t measure up to anything near monetary value.
*Sometimes, things are out of our control. Period.
Mara, your advice was old but perfectly uniiversal....I think my mom has told me all that at least a billion times! LOL

San Diego Lady, this was sooo well thought out. Wow. It was beautiful, really...So many great responses! I hope in some way it helps people appreciate what they have while they have it, and to really touch the ones you love with the greatest thing we have, who we are... That''s why I treasure anything from my mother, anything from jewlery to little letters, and silly stories of her youth. It''s so funny to learn something you never knew that makes your parents more human. And she''s very shy about stories, whereas my father is very liberal with his. I guess because you hardly get much from her, even one story is like a treasure...

Honestly, I would love to make a collection of wise thoughts, and perhaps give them to my children, whether I am alive or not. It may seem silly but in the end, if you have touched your children''s lives, they WILL miss you...We had a family friend whose father was a very intelligent doctor. He wrote many many books, and the family prizes above all books the one he wrote about his own family. It was never published, and it was actually just a manuscript, that was published on the 10th anniversary of his death for the entire family and then some. Each member got a copy, even if you were not specifically named, like the new grandchildren. It was a way of leaving a little bit of your soul behind for those who loved you. I just remembered that, and although it''s not exactly the same, he had written it in the form of a story, but it was very personal and tender, something of a diary and musings of his life as well.
 

diamondfan

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Nicrez, I am sorry to hear about that.

Island, what a wonderful and special thing from your hubby. Your son will always feel he has a special part of his dad, things he would likely have discovered over time if he had lived. How amazing.


Here are some random things I think are good to think about...

I think it is nice to try to leave things better than you found them.

A smile does not cost anything and has priceless impact most of the time.

Character is about what you do, who you are when no one is watching you.

Do things not for what you get back but because you want to. It will be so much more "valuable" to you personally that way.

Sometimes people just need to be heard. You can have compassion but do not have to condone behaviors.
 

monarch64

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Never hold a grudge; best to get over it and move on with life in a positive way.

Have fun and be present in whatever you are doing! Live passionately and love with your whole heart.

Judge not lest ye be judged. (I am not a religious person but this is something that I believe very strongly in.)

Dream big, reach for the stars, and never give up...when we begin traversing our life path we are capable of anything, great things even, and we must not let "life" happenings impede us in our quest for personal success.

Take time to sit back and relax and enjoy life. Don''t waste away precious years, days, or hours worrying about the future...but do maintain a good balance of awareness and daydreaming!

You all have given such wonderful advice/perspectives on what you would choose to pass on to the world. Last weekend I attended the birthday party of my friend who is a substitute teacher currently in search of a permanent position, she has a masters in education and is such a great woman, I am so honored to know her. She doesn''t have a lot of money, and she had mentioned about a month ago that she was interested in starting her own child lit library with Shel Silverstein, which prompted me to go out and get her The Giving Tree and A Light in the Attic, as well as Where the Sidewalk Ends...she was so pleased, and I wrote her a little note in her b-day card saying how happy I was to know someone who was passing on such wonderful messages to the next generation and helping to shape young minds in such a positive way. It made me feel rather warm and fuzzy inside, in fact!
 

Mara

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I love reading all of these too!! Everyone has such great wisdom. LOL Nicrez about stuff your Mom told you, it''s totally true!! And as a kid or a teenager you are always like ''yeah whatever'' and then later you are like DOH it actually is right. So kinda interesting...heehe.
 

Nicrez

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I am all about books to kids...My sister is law is pregnant, and I already told her I am going to buy them all the books for their library, each year... For the birth I am going to give her my favorite, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, even though it is for an older child... I love the lessons it has in there and how it is told with such a delicate and gentle character in the little prince... I will buy it in several languages, as her and my brother are polyglots and their baby can be too! :) Then the Silverstein and Dr. Suess, and Curious George, etc...

To this day Shel Silverstein comes to mind when I see wavy hair. "I once thought that I had wavy hair, until I shaved it. Instead, I found that I have straight hair and a very wavy head." Hysterical. Although not a universal truth, it makes me think that nothing is what you think, and you can"t always assume things. That and don''t shave, you may just have a wavy head!
 

monarch64

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Date: 4/25/2007 1:26:31 AM
Author: Nicrez
I am all about books to kids...My sister is law is pregnant, and I already told her I am going to buy them all the books for their library, each year... For the birth I am going to give her my favorite, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, even though it is for an older child... I love the lessons it has in there and how it is told with such a delicate and gentle character in the little prince... I will buy it in several languages, as her and my brother are polyglots and their baby can be too! :) Then the Silverstein and Dr. Suess, and Curious George, etc...

To this day Shel Silverstein comes to mind when I see wavy hair. ''I once thought that I had wavy hair, until I shaved it. Instead, I found that I have straight hair and a very wavy head.'' Hysterical. Although not a universal truth, it makes me think that nothing is what you think, and you can''t always assume things. That and don''t shave, you may just have a wavy head!
Oh a gal after my own heart, nicrez! I LOVE The Little Prince/Le Petite Prince! I actually got the latest anniversary (think it was the 60th?) edition in hardcover for a friend''s baby shower among other things...I had tied it in with a few other French products (Mustela) but although she''s an elementary school teacher she didn''t "get it" at all...oh well. Luckily I gave her the English version, so at least she will be able to read it to her firstborn and the messages within will be carried on. I dearly love that book. And Silverstein...ahh, Shel, what a gift to humankind you were. I don''t know who I would be without having grown up reading his poetry and books and having a mother who cared enough to expose me to such wonderful literature! The gift of reading and passing on knowledge through lit is just the most priceless thing. Curious George and Dr. Seuss were of course included in my childhood favorites, there was just a thread about children''s lit over in Family, Home, and Health recently, Nicrez, did you see it?
 

Nicrez

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No but I will when I get a chance. I have to say that my world would be dim and grim without books...I lived and breathed them as a child and used to stay up all hours reading, and infuriating my mother...in class I was exhausted if I had bought a book the night before. It got so pricey my mother went and got me a library card, because I wen through books like water... I used to read books 4 years ahead of my grade because I read all the books in between! My teachers thought I was nuts, and loved it! My father hates reading, and only does it for stocks and news. I am almost entirely my father, EXCEPT my mother''s side has always loed books. My grandfather had an extensive library of collectable leatherbounds, in those old studies with the rolling ladder...In many languages and he himself was an author in 5 different languages. I am proud to say that is one thing I truly got from my mother and her side...

Books are a legacy, and I adore the written word. TO the extent I love to write hand written letters...nothing like the human element in such a technological world. My friends get a kick out of my hand written dinner party invites and letters to friends far away. Hence the stationery obsession... That''s why the idea of letters to generations ahead of you is such a warming thought. Like we are authors of our own worlds where our children can learn about their parents, and learn the lessons they impart.

Mara, scary but my mother always had saying, it was infuriating. Always the same billion phrases of wisdom when I was totally inconsolable. The strangest thing is that I find myself spouting her tidbits everywhere and to everyone. I have my favorites, and I think I would make sure to write them down for my own daughter to know her grandmother... I''m becoming my MOM!


Lots of them are translated, and lose the impact I think, but they are words I live by everyday, not kidding.
 
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