Richard’s Rules – Part I

In lieu of his graduation, Austin has received many congratulations and words of encouragement over the past few months.  Family and friends have showered him with “atta-boys” and “go for its”, which can be a little heady for a quiet, young man about to venture away from the security of home into the vast world of academia.

Knowing that he might need a bit of grounding, my Uncle Richard decided to share his “rules” with Austin, words of wisdom collected over the years from folks who overcame obstacles, experienced success, and lived noteworthy lives.  The rules are fairly simple and straightforward, but not always easy to follow.  The first four are as follows:

Rule 1:  Read and study God’s word, and ask for God’s wisdom every day.  This may be a little daunting for a teenage boy who spends his time toggling between scientific theory, world history, classic rock, and video games, but even committing to a brief chat, a quick read, or a moment of reflection has the potential to be life altering.


Rule 2:  Commit yourself to integrity.  Integrity is described by C.S. Lewis as “doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”  Today, the ability to hide behind the “curtain” of the internet is very tempting.  It’s extremely easy to say and do things that one would never even consider when in a situation involving face to face contact.  Knowing when, and being able to curtail negative and destructive behaviors will prove to be much more challenging for this generation; thus making it imperative to refer back to Rule 1 perhaps more often than just once a day!


Rule 3:  Be focused in all your endeavors.  In photography, focus is everything.  When capturing any subject, be it a flower, a mountain, or a person, pointing the lens in the right direction is essential.  The same is true in life.  If one wants to succeed, whether in the business world, academia, or on the home front, attention should be directed towards those behaviors and attitudes that ensure a positive outcome.


Rule 4.  Commit yourself to succeed.   Winston Churchill once said,

“never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

Of course, he was in the throes of World War II at the time that he said this, trying to save a devastated nation from total defeat; however, I think my uncle would agree, this is good advice in any circumstance!


Uncle Richard will be the first one to admit that he has lived a far from perfect life, and, by the world’s standards, he might not even be considered “successful”.  However, I have come to realize that this interesting, intelligent, real man of God has blessed me in more ways than I dare to count.  Hopefully, sharing these tidbits and reiterating to my son the importance of them will be a way to pay it forward!

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