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JOHN EGGERS COLUMN: The other Ten Commandments

One of my favorite religious stories is about Moses ascending from Mt. Sinai. Moses has just spent days on top of the mountain talking with God.

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John Eggers

One of my favorite religious stories is about Moses ascending from Mt. Sinai. Moses has just spent days on top of the mountain talking with God.

There have been thunder and lightning and fire and lots of smoke. Moses’ people at the bottom of the mountain wonder what he is doing up there.

Finally, after 40 days, Moses comes down the mountain to meet his people. He meets his brother, Aaron, and Aaron asks him a very logical question. “How did you do up there?” Moses replies, “Well, not so good. I only got him down to 10.”

Well, it’s a cute story, but a person often wonders if God had written 10 more commandments on stone tablets what they would be. Here is my version of the other 10 that were left out.

1. Look for the signs.

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When my father passed away several years ago, I sat on the shore of Lake Julia, contemplating all that had happened in the past few days.

As I sat on the shore, thinking about how much my father meant to me, I wondered if I had done enough over the past 70 years to show my respect for him and communicate my love and admiration.

At about this time, a flock of swans slowly flew over the lake with the sun reflecting off their white feathers.

Seeing these swans was like a sign signaling that he was now home and that I needed to go on with my life and that everyone and everything would be okay. Most of all, he loved me very much. It was a sign to me.

It’s essential that we look for signs in our life that give us hope and direction. These signs can happen any time, but they are most noticeable when we are by ourselves and just sitting and meditating about life and who we are and who we will become.

2. Cherish the moment.

Had this been one of the original Ten Commandments, I would have broken it many times. I tend to be constantly looking ahead. This isn’t all bad, but you may miss many memorable moments if you don’t focus on the now.

Once a moment is gone, it’s gone forever. Eventually, all of those moments run out. If there is anything an older person can tell you about life, it is that life is brief. Take advantage of every second.

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3. Show compassion towards others.

If we focus our days on feeling pity for ourselves, we will have difficulty showing compassion towards others. Pity never solves any problems; showing compassion coupled with action does.

4. Count your blessings.

The war in Ukraine has taught us that we are very well off. Sure, we experience our share of hardships, but we are incredibly blessed compared to losing everything like the people in Ukraine.

The Ukrainians have taught us to cherish what we have now because it could be gone tomorrow. They have also taught us compassion. Let’s all continue to look for helping the Ukrainians.

5. Help others first.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I can’t improve on this golden rule.

6. Dream big.

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The most significant negative impact of dropping out of school is that young people lose sight of their dreams. At one time in our younger days, we all had aspirations that would fit into the “big dream” category.

For many of us, this is what kept us going. Students that fail to graduate too often stop dreaming. This is probably the worst thing anyone can do. Dreams keep us alive. Dreams keep us active. Dreams help us be a doer and not just a watcher.

7. Be kind to yourself.

Baptist preacher Tony Campolo tells a story about a college professor who had one student stand up, and the professor told him, “You are a sperm. You were the only one of five million who made it.”

Each of us has value. Each of us has a right to be respected. When we find fault with ourselves, we lose our dignity and self-respect. Be careful what you say to yourself and how you feel about yourself. Be kind to yourself. Remember, you were the only one of five million who made it.

8. Love somebody.

Everyone needs someone to love. It could be a spouse, a special friend, a neighbor, or a relative. Without love, life has little substance. With it, love gives us a reason to enjoy life and enjoy others. As the Blues Brothers remind us, “Everybody needs somebody to love."

9. Have a purpose.

My favorite book in the Old Testament is Esther. If you read the book, you will learn that her cousin, Mordecai, reminds her about having a purpose in life, and he tells her that her purpose is to save the Jews.

Queen Esther went to the King of Persia to tell him about a plot that would result in the death of every Jew. It would be genocide. Mordecai told Esther that this was her purpose in life, to save the Jews. Do you have a purpose in life? Think about it. It’s essential that you find one.

10. Hope.

Kathy and I celebrated our 54th anniversary a few weeks ago. We were married on March 16, 1968. This was the day that Bobby Kennedy declared his candidacy for president.

Bobby often quoted George Bernard Shaw, who said, “Some people see things as they are and say ‘why.”, I dream things that never were and say ‘why not?’”

Being a person filled with hope means that you are a “why not” kind of person. The world needs people who exude hope. Let’s all be one. Happy Easter.

Riddle: What does one Easter bunny say to another if they want to flirt? (Answer: You’re ear-resistible.) I hope you found these other Ten Commandments irresistible.

100%

Thanks to the Northwest Educational Service Cooperative for being the most recent graduation rate goal of 100%.

John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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