I’m 69 years old (yes I admit it) although my Grandkids probably think I’m older than that, or “really old”! I hope that along the way I have become a little wiser than I was as a pre- teenage kid, but sometimes my mind wanders back to when I was ten years old. I remember happy times playing cricket or soccer with my Dad or putting 18 holes in the local park. I think back to school and the friends that I made, the games we played and the best teacher in the world. Her name was Mrs. Packham and I trusted her implicitly.
But with the benefit of wisdom would I have acted differently? Would I have made different choices or added to my selection? What difference would the onset of 59 extra years have made if I knew then what I know now?
The French writer- philosopher – Honore de Balzac – concluded “Because wisdom cannot be told”! He was quoted in a 1940 Harvard Alumni Bulletin with this conclusion as its title. Balzac actually wrote” “So he had grown rich at last, and thought to transmit to his only son all the cut and dried experience which he himself had purchased at the price of his lost illusions; a noble last illusion of age”.
So if, with wisdom, I was able to go back in time and write a letter to myself when I was age ten, would I be able to impart my 69 years of wisdom to myself in order that I might live my life over differently?
This question is the very same one that Cathee, our Memory Care Specialist posed to our Connections Club last Thursday. The answers the Club members wrote varied from straightforward to touching and, from ingenious to profound.
In these blogs I have often challenged my readers to come and visit Memory Matters and learn how to be a volunteer in our Memory Care center and to be rewarded for taking the time and sharing their talent and kindness of human spirit. While we offer critical help to caregivers and their loved ones experiencing issues with dementia our role in the Lowcountry community is significantly broader. We optimize brain wellness! Our mission is to ensure that everyone who enters our facility or engages anywhere with our Memory Care Specialists and trained volunteers, enjoys a motivational and exhilarating “brain day”.
Typically our Connections club members have been diagnosed with an early indication of dementia or simply mild cognitive impairment or mild memory loss. Our job is to exercise the 3lbs of “squidgy” muscle that is their brain, to stretch it, and stimulate its processing power. This we do in a failure-free environment with a wide variety of programs that include problem solving, communication and questions that require in-depth thought. Our members achieve this week after week, but some weeks yield exceptional results, which is why I want share with you the letters our Club members wrote to themselves back in the the time they were ten years old.
We started the class by discussing some examples. These included:
- Forget about being the best at everything.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
- Treat cruelty with kindness
- Laugh at yourself.
Then with this little background our Connections Club members went to work and I am going to share their thoughts and words verbatim. I am incredibly proud of these people with their amazing brains and zeal to make the most of their lives for many, many years to come. I am more than proud to be one of their friends. There is no thought of sitting around on a couch watching TV, or reflecting on nothing. These folk are pro-active!
Here are their messages to themselves as a ten year old (not in any particular order and I have not included duplicates):
- Be at peace with others -they have problems of their own.
- Show loyalty to your friends and family.
- Listen to advice from teachers and parents.
- Study history of those who have succeeded at some task.
- See how those who succeeded stayed with their beliefs.
- Try kindness to others. It is productive.
- Whistle while you work. It’s attitude that is important.
- Learn from your friends.
- Make more friends.
- Take up a hobby.
- Be a friend to someone.
- Hug more.
- Kiss more.
- Climb trees.
- Trust yourself.
- Walk more.
- Wear sun block.
- Adapt yourself wherever you go.
- Follow your dreams.
- Try new foods.
- Learn something new each day.
- Be kind to others.
- Speak kindly.
- Have a hobby.
- Be good to animals.
- Read more.
- Learn to dance.
- Read and study the Bible more.
- Read widely.
- Buy more stocks.
- Smile more.
- Tell your parents you love them.
- At age ten not passing an exam is NOT a failure.
- Pray more.
- Learn a second language.
- Learn a musical instrument if you are given the chance.
- Buy Apple, Google and IBM stock.
- Save money.
- Mind your own business.
- Being an only child is not all bad.
- Listen more and talk less.
- Wish everybody a great day!
- Tell someone you love them.
- Hug your children.
- Fill your car with gas. Don’t let it run empty.
- Call your family.
- Take someone to lunch.
- Pay your bills.
- Write thank you notes.
- Clean up NJ politics!
- Tell Mom how great she is.
- Love your sister (and brother)
- Be nice to Joe F.
- Have better manners.
- Learn to cook.
- Help with multiplication tables.
- Make money through work -there is no free lunch.
- Babysit your little sister.
- Have more fun.
- Listen to your Mom and Dad. They want the best for you .Tell them you love them.
- Play fair – do NOT cheat.
- Make friends with boys and girls.
- Enjoy your summer play and sports. It builds character.
- Be gracious. Don’t be a sore loser.
- Dream Set some goals.
- Be polite to your teachers, clergy, and older family members.
- Study what others need!
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Love the Lord.
- Work hard.
- Stick with learning the piano.
- Tell Bill M. to stop beating up that other boy.
- Eat less.
- Have fun!
- Listen to music.
- Tell good stories.
- Attitude is important.
- Learn to love yourself.
Creating the environment in which intelligent people can exercise and stimulate their brain is something we do every day. Is it always easy and straightforward to get these fine people to open up their hearts and minds? No! However, with perseverance, gentle persuasion and trained memory care techniques and experience the results are often beyond our expectations. This was a case in point. The 81 one-line thoughts they wrote last week were carefully solicited and thoughtfully composed by our Club members.
Think about it yourself. Write down the top five things you would want to tell yourself when you were ten years old. Be honest with yourself and be brave! Our Connections Club members were so.
If any of my readers would like to share their own story that we can in turn share with our Club members to further engage them, then please comment via our website at www.memory-matters.org, or to volunteermike.com.
Meanwhile have a great brain day!
For information about Memory Matters including a free of charge memory test, call 1 843 842 6688. All calls are treated with confidentiality.
Vision: Memory Matters optimizes brain wellness.
Mission: Memory Matters optimizes brain wellness and memory care through education, programs, and support for individuals, care-givers in the Low Country community.