A very long time ago when my children were indeed children, I morbidly feared that there might come a day that I was separated from life but had neglected to say everything truly important to them. “I love you”, spoken at every parting did not really seem adequate. I pondered the question of what succinct message could deliver what was lacking in a casual “goodbye”.
My answer came in this form: “I love you” (of course!) and “Have Fun, Do Good, and Be Safe”. The 4 benedictions added after “I love you” seemed to capture the essence of my own life philosophy. Over the years I have said this so often to those who are dear to me that I am reasonably certain it will one day appear on a gravestone as my epitaph.
“Have Fun” is my recognition that whatever one does, it should in some manner feed the soul. Having fun is more than just laughing, it is that which sustains us and encourages us to keep going. It is found in our work, recreation, relationships, and accomplishments. How we engage ourselves to rise above the challenges that life casts in our way is also an aspect of “fun”, although not commonly considered so.
“Do Good”, is actually a 2 part invocation. Doing good is doing the best that one is able, expending one’s best efforts. It is also doing what is right. Doing good calls upon a conscious self-examination of “have I done my best, and have I honored my best in the values that I have come to know. It is a tall order, but it is certainly what I ask of my children and expect of myself. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I just need to try harder, which is also “doing good”.
Lastly, “Be Safe” is for the sake of those who love us. As we live, we should be mindful that we are not isolated strands of life, but an interwoven part of a vast living tapestry. The string of my life is connected to the strings of countless other lives. If I do not value my life then I do not value the lives of those who are touched by me. If my children are heedless of their own safety, then it brings anxiety into my life. It is an added dimension to the Golden Rule. Instead of “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you”, it calls upon us to care for ourselves as we would ask those who we care for to do for themselves.
May you all Have Fun, Do Good, and Be Safe.
Peace! Pete (Originally posted July 11, 2014)