I have two children, a daughter and a son, that I have tried to raise with both a spirit of service and of independence. In wanting to pass to them ideals that I have found to be the most valuable in my life I came up with these four statements.
1. God first, you last.
Put the purpose of God first in your life. Recognize that you are designed for, and uniquely to, enjoyment of a spectacular life. Placing God as the leadership is the only way to receive the full grace and fulfillment of the life that God has planned for you. Placing yourself as the leader can only give you the things that are created by you.
2. Carry your own water.
This is more than just doing your share; it includes taking responsibility for your life; to not burden others unnecessarily in the provisions for your existence. It emphasizes the need for good stewardship and maturity. Remember that you only hold the cup, but God owns the water. Your job is to carry the cup and Godís job is to fill it.
3. Take your hits.
Don't run away from your problems or seek to avoid either the rewards or costs of your actions. Be proud of what you are able to achieve and be repentant for those acts that are destructive. Be equally ready for success as you are for disappointment. Do not take responsibility for the actions of others. Doing that lessens them and over inflates your own ego.
4. Kill the Bear.
In life there are problems and challenges, they are meant to be overcome and defeated. There are times to run away from dangers, but often going forward means you have to vanquish them. There are times to run. There are times to fight. Sometimes you just have to kill the bear.
I suppose I could add to this list, in fact I know I could add a lot to this list. But the spirit of these four things are at the heart of what I believe makes the difference in a life of success and a life of defeat. I tell these things to my children often because anything worth keeping is worth keeping close by.