Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

May 30, 2012

Remembering the words we should live by

By Keith Kappes - Publisher

May 30, 2012 — I’ve never accepted the opinion of the anonymous cynic who said that free advice is always worth what you pay for it.

Family, friends and even strangers have uttered words of wisdom that have impacted all of our lives, even if we don’t always keep them uppermost in our mind.

I’ve often used the phrase “bad breath is better than no breath at all” as a somewhat odd but clearly stated, sarcastic consolation for someone who complains about not having enough material possessions.

Coping with a physical problem, especially one of a temporary nature, can be easier to handle if you remember these words: “I had no shoes and I complained and then I met a person who had no feet.”

As someone who has struggled with body weight for years, I constantly forget the royal eating plan: “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.”

Becoming a grandparent and a senior citizen made me more committed to this advice: “spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.”

My mother struggled with cancer for the last decade of her life but somehow always managed to keep her commitments to family, church, and community while dressing stylishly and wearing a smile and a positive attitude.

I realize now that she was determined to live by these words: “no matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.”

Many of us human beings seem to be hoarders by nature, despite this inspired advice: “get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.”

All of us know folks who are looking for an easy route to personal wealth. They need to be reminded that “the dictionary is the only place where success comes before work”.

I had a professor who required all of her students to memorize this Swedish proverb: “fear less, hope more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours."

As a student of government, I often have been amused by politicians who struggled with this adage: "the hardest thing to learn in life is which bridges to cross and which to burn."

My wife decided a few years ago that I needed a daily reminder about having a positive attitude.

On the wall of my side of our bedroom she posted these words: “sometimes I wake up grumpy, but sometimes I just let him sleep.”