Things Your Father Wants You To Know #3 ~ Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

I think its fair to say that your father sweats the small stuff; the smaller it is the more sweat. And it causes him a lot of angst. He is truly a mensch when it comes to the big stuff. If he wasn’t, we wouldn’t have you! We had just moved in together and I called home and said I was bringing home a teenage girl who needed a foster placement ~ no big deal. Call him in the middle of the night for an emergency, he is up and out in a heartbeat; but leave a dish in the sink and his head explodes.

So more than almost anything he would tell you… don’t sweat the small stuff, it will just raise your blood pressure. And more importantly, it is almost all small stuff. There is very little that you will face in life that is actually life threatening. There is no question that you will face things that will force change in your life; change is not bad, it can just be very disconcerting. Fearing change can cause you to make bad decisions; trust me, we know. Most decisions, fortunately, are not irrevocable. The good news is that faith will carry you through most change, and most change won’t kill you; small stuff.

With any luck you will never go to war. Hopefully you will not face life threatening illness, catastrophic accident or the untimely loss of a loved one. But you cannot count on these things; these are the big things. You will sweat these things, they are hard, painful and demand your attention. These are the things it takes time to recover from, the things that leave scars on your heart. Pretty much everything else is small stuff.

If you remember that it is all small stuff, you will have an easier time in your relationships; the necessary compromise will come more readily. If you are able to let the small stuff go, you will waste a lot less emotional energy on things that don’t really matter. You will be able to survive any tragedies that come your way. If you don’t sweat the small stuff you will have the emotional space for the things that really do matter… your loves, your passions, your joys.

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Things Ruben Wants You To Know #1~ What My Father Taught Me

First, I shall tell you about some of the things my father taught me. Then I’ll proceed to my recommendations for you, Jacob.

My father taught me kindness and compassion, appreciation of my fellow human beings, the joys of service to others, patience, tolerance and understanding of people, even if their outlook on life, politics,
religion, nationality, race, or sexual orientation was different from mine. In addition, he impressed upon me that it is utterly self-destructive to carry a grudge. Also, I learned from him that though it is all right to dislike a person or thing, I should never hate.

I further learned, both by his teaching and by his example, consideration and charity, as well as honesty, sincerity, optimism, fairness, tidiness and many other positive things, all of which made me into an extrovert and, hopefully, a decent human being. In other words, he shaped my personality and my interpersonal relationships – plus my philosophy of life. To this day I still live by that, and I enjoy life and the many friends I have.

This is what I would like you to know: You may disagree with your friend – about politics, religion, or whatever – but you should respect him/her for his/her belief, and remain on friendly terms with your friend. You should never carry a grudge – once something is over, it’s over. Carrying a grudge or “hating” is totally
self-destructive.

Life is full of challenges; never despair, but meet those challenges head-on – remember that your glass is always half-full, not half-empty, Today’s young people are besieged by electronic instant
communication to the extent that some of them actually lose their humanity. I sincerely hope that you will not be one of these, but will use those marvelous tools wisely and with circumspection.