Here’s some grandfatherly advice on getting the most out of life. With one heartfelt letter to his grandchildren shortly before he died, James K. Flanagan shared valuable life lessons that have touched far more people than he could have imagined. This Irish storyteller’s letter was 1st published in 2012 by The Huffington Post and re-posted on St. Patrick’s Day 2014.
Flanagan encourages his grandkids to live their lives to the fullest: “Pursue your hopes and your dreams no matter how difficult or ‘different’ they may seem to others. Far too many people don’t do what they want or should do because of what they imagine others may think or say…The worst thing in life is to look back and say: ‘I would have; I could have; I should have.’ Take risks, make mistakes.”
He also advises them to pick something they love to do when choosing a profession: “Sure, there may be some things hard about it, but a job must be a joy. Beware of taking a job for money alone–it will cripple your soul.”
He shares these lessons on how to treat others: “Be kind and go out of your way to help people—especially the weak, the fearful, and children. Everyone is carrying a special sorrow, and they need our compassion.” He also found that yelling doesn’t work: “It hurts both yourself and others. Every time I have yelled, I have failed.”
Flanagan reminds his grandchildren just how important it is to: “Hug people you love. Tell them how much they mean to you now; don’t wait until it’s too late,” And he closed the letter with lesson #18. “Be grateful. There is an Irish saying: ‘This is a day in our lives, and it will not come again.’ Live every day with this in mind.” What life lessons have you learned from a grandparent that have guided you in your life? Life lessons are meant to be passed along. Share them with us!