Rules to Live By
Our family is listening to the book, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio and we are obsessed. There are so many lessons in this delightful and beautifully written best seller. Perhaps my favorite lessons are woven into the story as an English teacher’s essay assignment: Mr. Brown’s Monthly Precepts.
My interest is piqued. I’ve Googled and written down these precepts from Wonder because, well, they’re wonderful. And (at the risk of taking this too far) I wonder if I should start my own personal Precept of the Month Club.
I launch my one gal club by looking up the definition of precept. And just like that, my club is formed.
pre·cept noun \ˈprē-ˌsept\ : a rule that says how people should behave
If we were lucky, our parents taught us precepts by example. I’ve discovered that I’ve also been shaped by precepts gleaned from sermons I overheard while “sleeping” underneath a church pew. We also might consider those platitudes that everyone shares on Facebook and Pinterest, because some of those are truly inspiring. But not once have I sat down, pen in hand, and written my own precepts. Rules to live by.
So here I am, pen in hand. The first one is easy: When the TV is on, the volume should never be above level 12. And, No televisions in bedrooms, not even mine.
Inspired by the lack of volume on my television, I move on to those that were embedded in childhood: Forgive, even when you can’t forget. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And my mom’s personal favorite: Pray for those who hurt you.
Finally, it’s time to write my own. But I’m so busy collecting precepts that I can’t begin.
Be Honest. (Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom –Thomas Jefferson)
Be Ready. (There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. –Colin Powell)
Be Kind. (When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself – Wayne Dyer).
Be an Example. (Your children [and everyone else] will see what you’re all about by what you live rather than what you say –Wayne Dyer)
Be There. (Today me will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant, in which case me will eat a cookie. –Cookie Monster)
Be Smart. (The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination – Albert Einstein)
Be Brave. (You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” – Stephen King)
Be Bold. (Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” –Dr. Seuss)
Be Strong. (Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go. -Hermann Hesse)
BE. (Our intention Creates our Reality –Wayne Dyer)
My goal this year is to write my own, unique precept each month. I’m a bit nervous, though. Because I’m competitive and Mr. Brown’s got it going on.
What rules do you live by? If you’d like to share your own personal precept, comment, find me on Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MR. BROWN’S PRECEPTS
SEPTEMBER-“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” —Dr. Wayne Dyer
OCTOBER-“Your deeds are your monuments.”—Inscription on an Egyptian tomb
NOVEMBER-“Have no friends not equal to yourself.” —Confucius
DECEMBER-“Fortune favors the bold.” —Virgil
JANUARY-“No man is an island, entire of itself.” —John Donne
FEBRUARY-“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” —James Thurber
MARCH-“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” —Blaise Pascal
APRIL-“What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful.” —Sappho
MAY-“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.” —John Wesley’s Rule
JUNE-“Just follow the day and reach for the sun!” —The Polyphonic Spree