My Dad Frank who passed away on February 21st would be the last person on the planet to describe himself as a philosopher.
In fact I doubt if he had read many philosophical writings at all during his lifetime. Likewise, there is no question that he would have dismissed any notion that the manner in which he lived his life would even be considered worthy of discussion. He was, after all, a rather humble man. And furthermore I submit that there are many more "Franks" out there–ordinary people who have led exemplary lives. Their examples are worthy of examination.
Therefore it is interesting to observe and analyze the attitudes and behaviors he exhibited during his lifetime and, in the process, derive some principles by which might live our own.
1} Live simply with attention to what you need. It's fine to acquire material possessions on occasion but don't for a moment believe they will bring real happiness.
2} Respect the beliefs and opinions of others. It's natural to have your own faith and beliefs. They are yours by birth and choice and in this country you have the freedom to believe and practice as you wish. Don't demand that others follow your beliefs. That is an affront to personal choice.
3} Don't stereotype anyone by their ethnicity, race or religion. There are many good people from different backgrounds who share your sense of fairness and respect for others. Likewise there are members of your own group whose values contradict your own.
4} As human beings we are capable of acting in ways that demonstrate caring and compassion for others. It is a simple but valuable approach to life. Treat people fairly. Live the Golden Rule.
5} Admire those who have worked hard and diligently for their accomplishments. But if they come to believe they are better than anyone else, it is time for a reality check. Arrogance, haughtiness, self-promotion and egocentric attitude and behavior is ridiculous and obnoxious. We are all equal on a human level.
6} Family, friends and personal connections are paramount in life. Overlook minor transgressions if possible. You are together in this life for a reason. They are the source of real happiness.
7} This is the best country on earth. It welcomes downtrodden immigrants from all over the world. Respect it and be willing to serve in its defense. The American dream is based on mutual respect and the dignity of all human beings.
8} But as much as we pledge allegiance to this nation it is our duty as citizens to criticize its leaders when we believe they are wrong.
9} Life is not always "fair". The innocent suffer and adversity will touch as all. But embrace an optimistic attitude. Smile whenever you can. It will influence others.
10} Respect each and every human being you encounter. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Be curious about who they are and meet them on a deeply personal level. They will not forget you.
11} Always expect that tomorrow will be better than today. If it doesn't happen that way, so be it.
12} Respect life but acknowledge that death is the inevitable end. Be grateful for the gift of having lived and loved in this world.
13} Live life in the moment. You can't appreciate where you are now if you are fretting over the past or obsessing over the future.