You want truth?

Here it is. Our school system is an opportunity to learn and you can graduate with the knowledge of the greatest minds of the past or with an intellect less than a box of rocks. The choice is yours. You will not be forced to learn but if you don’t you will suffer the consequences. There are several things that you need to learn.

The First Lesson is to learn to listen to those in authority (parents, teachers, police, warden, boss, supervisor, manager, etc.) because words spoken by one in authority have meaning and there are requirements and consequences attached to those words. You will either meet/follow those requirements or sooner or later you will suffer the consequences for not following them.

The Second Lesson is to learn to work with others. Friendship, society, and business are all based on a willingness to cooperate with others in doing things for mutual benefit. We have to all agree to and follow a common platform, a set of standards, rules, laws and permitted conduct that define almost everything that we do. They are so pervasive many are not even noticed like those that define the day of the week, time of day even how we describe where we are.

The Third Lesson is to learn to do what another person wants you to do. Unless you are self-sufficient you will need to do things for others in exchange for money or barter for the things that you will need. While working for another one needs to set what others want you to do ahead of what you want to do. The key to any job is to do what the customer wants and the most important customer is the person you are working for. A car that does what you want is dependable and is trusted, so is an employee, student, and a friend. Note: These three lessons go beyond school and are basic survival lessons and they apply to any authority that you may find over you. That authority can be anywhere from kind and loving to cruel and evil, and that control can be mental, emotional or physical. It can be real, implied or imagined and it can be subtle, blunt or vague, but if you are to survive a harsh environment, you must learn to adapt to the authority under which you find yourself until you are set free, released or otherwise can be free from the control of that authority.

The Fourth Lesson is to learn the knowledge and skills necessary for you to do what others want you to do in a field that you enjoy and to do the things that you want to do. After you do work for others you begin to accumulate benefits and then others can do things for you, but you have to do the work first. Money won’t make you happy. It can eliminate misery, but what you accomplish in earning it and what you do with it can.

The Fifth Lesson is to learn the purpose of Lessons One through Four. The purpose is to enable you to control your own actions with the goal of putting you and your own judgment in control of and over your actions. A child who throws a fit when they do not get their way or what they want is not in control of themselves. Their wants and emotions control them not their own rational judgment.

The Exception: There is an overriding exception to Lessons One through Five. There are times when one should not obey those in authority. There is a “right and wrong” and “right and wrong” are not determined by those in authority. “Good and evil” which are the intent behind those actions are also not determined by those in authority. The overriding principle on which to follow those in authority is “love” (love of God, love of your neighbor and love of yourself). Make that “love” the cornerstone of your heart and of your life and you will know whether your acts are right or wrong, because your acts are done with “love” are right and good and your acts done against Love are wrong and they should not be done, even if another tells you to do them. Have a wonderful day, and may God touch your life.

Terry O’Neill, Lake Geneva resident and former alderperson & local activist

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