Monday, January 18, 2016

New Year's Resolution

Pope Francis' List

        Today is January 18, 2016. My recent blog posts have all been looking back. It is time to look forward. The biggest thing coming way too quickly is the ending of our eighteen month mission in Ghana. What big or small event will come after, that is part of the unknown. We will be saddened to leave this experience and wonder what will come next but we will be grateful to see family and friends again. The following is my retelling of an article that appeared in one of the Ghana newspapers last Friday by Terry Mante, a Ghanaian life coach, motivational speaker and writer. He consolidated an article by a Filipino writer that had distilled the key teachings of Pope Francis into 10 resolutions we would all do well to live by.
        These thoughts are some ideas for a brighter 2016. There are no pounds to loose and no gyms to attend. We don't have to give up sugar or chocolate. We don't even have to schedule a certain amount of time each day to accomplish our resolutions. I believe that we just have to think a little harder about being the people we want to be. I hope that you find some thoughts in here to enlighten your mind and soften your hearts so that we make the world a little better place. I have not changed any of the British spelling despite the computer constantly underlining the words in red.

1.  Don't Gossip: "If you want to improve your life, invest your time wisely. Don't be a participant of meaningless chatter. Be a propagator of ideas that inspire and make the world a better place."

2.  Finish Your Meals: "Needless to say, food is a basic necessity of life. As basic as it is, not all people...have the blessing....According to the World Food in eight 'do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life.' Ironically, enough food is produced to feed all 7 billion people on earth. Apart from the poverty trap, low investment in agriculture, climate change and weather, war and displacement as well as unstable markets. the WFP also identifies wastage as one of the factors which cause hunger....It is estimated that one-third of all food produced (1.3 billion tons) never gets consumed. 
        Make it your business to clear your plate....You must know how much you can consume and have no more that that on your plate. Don't waste food. Finish your meals."

3. Make Time for Others: "It is not good to be without rich relationships. Good relationships improve social capital, enhance emotional wellbeing and sanitise our minds.
        Call someone, Visit them, Go out with you family. Listen to your friends. Comfort those who are weak. Make it your business to put a smile on the faces of others."

4. Choose the More Humble Purchase: "There is nothing wrong with being wealthy and owning assets. ...access to wealth could lead us to be unnecessarily extravagant. ...avoid ostentatious display.... Such behaviour is vain and tends to be vexations."

5. Meet the Poor 'in the flesh': "An encouraging word, a smile or a pat on the back could be a great boost for people in need but sometimes, what people need is real, tangible, material assistance. Give cash to someone who needs it. Give clothes. Give food. Offer shelter. Don't just be an encourager. Be a giver."

6. Stop Judging Others: "Usually, we do that (judge others) because we think that they are so wrong and we are so right. We feel that they should know better. ...consider what you would do in the same situation....Rather that being quick to judge others, be considerate and show empathy."

7. Befriend Those Who Disagree: "When people sing our tune, it is easy to dance along with them. Not everybody who disagrees with you is an enemy. If you look beyond the disagreement, you can build some useful bridges."

8. Make Commitments: "Commitments make you honourable. They give you stability and project your character. Some things are seasonal. Others are forever. (Pope) Francis specifically mentions marraige....Apart from marriage, causes such as mentoring, charity, and serving are noble enough to commit to. Commitments help us to live meaningfully and significantly."

9. Make it a Habit to 'Ask the Lord': "Prayer is the mechanism. ...there will always be factors that are outside our control....Asking the Lord helps us deal with the daunting challenges of our lives. He is answer us in ways that best serve our interests. Pray often. Pray always."

10. Be Happy: "Happiness has therapeutic effects which impact on your emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. Don't be hemmed in by negative experiences. In your heart, always choose joy. Even if what is going on around you or in your life is not great, don't let your heart be troubled. Happiness will preserve you."

       A mission really helps put extra focus on these life lessons. It's keeping these in the forefront of our minds and forever in our hearts that helps to make us a little better and happier but it is the exercising of these principles that makes the world a better and happier place. Happy Continuing New Year.

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