Considering recent developments in America, Thailand, and all around the world, I feel compelled to write to my students and myself this incomplete collection of take-it-or-leave-it life lessons:
Listen to one another.
Recognize our intuitive attachment to our own ideas/beliefs/cultural tendencies.
Respect differences of opinion (even if we thoroughly disagree, which is okay).
Read lots of books from many different types of authors/genres/time periods/topics recognizing that each person had a reason for writing what he/she did.
Share humbly and openly our experiences (both positive and negative).
Set our sights on principles (not personalities).
Work actively towards compromise in all our relationships.
Welcome criticism but test it critically.
Don’t take things personally – the thoughts, beliefs, and opinions of others should not affect anyone’s intrinsic worth. Criticism is what it is. Take it that way. Learn from it as best you can and don’t let it define your value.
Seek after self-awareness: Who am I? What has made me that way? What do I want to be, do, and have in my life? What is my current worldview? How do I know what I know?
Carry a salt shaker wherever we go, offering up grains of skeptical salt for all the opinions we hear and see, even-and perhaps especially-our own.
Write, journal, reflect, and seek mentorship.
Have a vision in life. Constantly refine it and don’t be afraid to throw it out and start from scratch.
Love, smile, and laugh.
Hug when appropriate.
Empathize. This means to try and actually experience the emotions (and reasons for those emotions) of others.
Continue to explore more deeply what it means to forgive.
Spend time in quiet.
I love you all dearly.