Lessons For Being Human


It is important for you to know that I borrowed that image from my friend Mitchell Brown, also known as Thoughtful Pop. You should also know that this post is being entered into the challenge grid at Yeah Write #63.

What is significant about that is out of the six or seven times I have entered I have only won once and have been flat out destroyed every other time. I mention this because one day my children may read this post and I want them to know that their dad can be ridiculously competitive but is also tenacious.

I don’t give up. I don’t quit. That’s because sometimes the win comes from showing up and battling. That is because if you aren’t blessed with ridiculous amounts of talent and the will to use it you don’t win.

Although my experience has taught me that persistence and tenacity are often enough to make it happen. When you are willing to push yourself and take one more step than the next guy you can win.

But I don’t want to get caught up solely in talking about winning and losing. I want to talk about what I want to teach my children. I want to talk about helping them become menschen.


A mensch is a person who has character, integrity and honor. Me? I am just your average Joe with oodles of this and buckets of that. It is a silly way of saying that I am a decent guy who has made a lot of good choices and a lot of bad choices.

But I also understand that this is part of being human as is learning from our mistakes. I am not the sum total of all that is good or all this bad. I am both. And as a father I am obligated to do the best I can to help my children not do the same stupid things that I did.

If we take a moment to look at exhibit A, also known as the fancy picture up above we see that there are no mistakes in life and that we keep repeating our lessons until we learn them.

Both of those resonate with me. Hell, the whole thing resonates with me which is part of why I posted it here. I take my role as a father very seriously which is part of why I keep writing these letters to my kids.

I want them to see that I am walking the walk and talking the talk. I want them to understand that there have been moments when I felt like Atlas and that I didn’t give up. I didn’t given up in large part because I was taught not to take the easy way out and because I want the kids to do the same.

I want them to understand that there is merit and value in work. I want them to see that sometimes walking through fire leads to something better, bigger and more beautiful.

It is a Journey

Life is a grand adventure and one hell of a journey. We often make it more complicated than it needs to be so here is my attempt to try to make it simpler for my children:

Live, love and laugh.

Do all three of these things as often as you can and without fear. The lack of fear part is hard. Someone is going to rip out your heart and I will probably want to kick their ass because when you hurt my kid you hurt me.

But the thing is that you never really understand how amazing love can be until you make yourself open and vulnerable to heartbreak. So unless you take a risk you miss opportunity for the great reward.

Live, love and laugh. Remember that you can do all those with a friend too. Make friends who are so dear you would consider taking a bullet for them and they for you. You don’t have to tons, a few good ones will often suffice.

There is more to say, do and discuss but for now I think we’ll make it simple.

Live, love and laugh.

Do those things and you will be happy.

(Visited 554 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Rita June 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Great post!  I liked the list especially the last rule: The answers lie inside you.  I have a big decision to make regarding my studies and I find it very difficult to decide…  And to listen to what my heart is telling me… 

  2. Sara June 30, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Excellent post on what makes life GOOD. I especially like this: “So unless you take a risk you miss opportunity for the great reward.”

    • TheJackB June 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Sara,
      My friends and kids can tell you that I talk about this a lot, taking a risk that is. I haven’t always been as good about it as I would like to be, but I believe it to be true.
      Sometimes there is no way to get ahead without taking that chance because you just can’t see what will happen unless you do.

  3. Julie June 30, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Wow, I am still working on most of those myself.  Which I guess is what #5 is trying to say, huh?
    Great post!  Life, distilled down to the very most essential things.  Thank you!

  4. TheJackB June 29, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    @intentionalcomm @Biebert Thank you. Hope you are having a great day.

  5. sperk01 June 28, 2012 at 6:57 am

    This is simply awesome. One to be curated and “pinned” on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. 50peach June 28, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Great reminder, not only for children, but for us grown-ups too.  Thanks.

  7. DudeOfTheHouse June 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    As Meatloaf (kinda) said, “One out of Six (wins) Ain’t Bad”. 

  8. Melisa June 27, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Those are great rules! Thanks for sharing with us – will definitely be lessons to teach our young child.

  9. tara pohlkotte June 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    what a fantastic list! yes. great things for our children.

  10. TheDoseofReality June 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Great work here. I love it. Love the list and what you wrote.

  11. mayorgiac June 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I think that image at the top is great advice – hope you succeed in teaching your kids it!

  12. educatorshelper June 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    @realmattdaddy @TheJackB Great post on being human… enjoyed reading it!

  13. AFoggyMama June 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you for this!  Here I thought I was the only one who actually cared if I won Yeah Write or not.  Everyone is so gracious and polite and I was feeling like an overly competitive moron.  Of course, I’m polite, too, but I would love to win.  
    Best of luck to you!  

    • TheJackB June 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm

       @AFoggyMama I expect that quite a few of us want to win. If there was only one grid it would be different, but there are two.
      So if you are going to post on the challenge one I expect there to be a desire to take home the big prize.
      Good luck to you too.

  14. christineorgan June 26, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Great post. I can totally relate.

  15. IASoupMama June 26, 2012 at 9:58 am

    This is my first week on the challenge grid — I am honestly very intimidated.  But I figure that if I don’t put myself out there and give it a try, I just might regret it later.  And who wants to regret something as silly as “I was afraid to try.”  Not me.  So I’m trying. And that is a win for this shy-and-easily-startled girl.

    • TheJackB June 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm

       @IASoupMama Nah, don’t be intimidated. Challenge is a good word. It is the one that asks us to stretch a little bit and push ourselves a little bit farther.
      That is a good thing, it is what helps us grow and become better writers. I think it is great that you are trying it out.

  16. AmarilloKenja June 26, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I feel ya. This is my 3rd time on Yeah Write. I don’t have to win, I just want to get some votes. Last week I got only one. I decided to quit entering the competition. Then I saw a post on Facebook that read : “You are not defeated when you lose, you are defeated when you quit.” I stole it, posted it on my wall and am trying to own it. Even when we don’t win, we learn. And to walk away from that would be stupid. I may never win, but by gosh, I’m learning and that’s probably more important.
    Thanks for a great post!

    • TheJackB June 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      That is a great quote and something that I believe in. It sounds hokey, but how many times have people won because others just gave up. Every time I fight through the frustration good things happen.
      It doesn’t mean that we don’t or won’t get frustrated, but if we can learn from our experiences than we have gained something.

  17. Aidan Donnelley Rowley June 26, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I love this. And that you so readily admit that you are competitive. I think we should celebrate such tenacity, and encourage it in our wee ones.

    • TheJackB June 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      Hi Aidan,
      In my baby book my mother has multiple notes about how I wanted to win at everything. I wanted to be the biggest/fastest/strongest etc. If there was an ‘est to be won I wanted it.
      I learned over time that I couldn’t win everything, but it didn’t stop me from trying. Now I just want the kids to take the good parts of the desire to win and eliminate the bad, which i guess is what every parent wants for their kids anyway.
      All of our good traits and one of our bad. 😉

  18. Gina June 26, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Love this post and learned the word “mensch” from you a while ago. I, also, love the lessons above. May I use the image someday with credited given from which it came?

    • TheJackB June 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Gina,
      You are welcome to use that image, but it is not mine. I grabbed it from Mitchell. Mensch is a great word, my father used it all the time.
      I always knew from his tone what he meant when he said it. You never wanted to hear “Be a mensch with an edge.” If you did you knew you were in trouble.

  19. tstyles77 June 26, 2012 at 7:40 am

    “Andy Bernard doesn’t lose contests. He wins them. Or he quits them because they aren’t fair.” That quote pretty much sums me up. Guess I need a little of that integrity, eh? Also, this is my first time on the Yeah Write Challenge Grid. We’ll see how it goes. 

    • TheJackB June 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm

       @tstyles77 Sounds like Andy Bernard is ready for a challenge and that is a good thing. 😉
      The grid is a good thing and well worth trying out. It is fun.

  20. CrossBetsy June 26, 2012 at 6:10 am

    The East coast??? That’s cool! 
    “Live, love, and laugh.” O.K…..will do..:)

  21. The Outlaw Mama June 26, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Great post. I read it twice. I have never “won” at Yeah Write, unless the top 5 row counts.  Does it count? I hope my kids think it counts for them.  For me, well, I guess it starts with me. And mostly I want them to keep showing up. Like you do.  Like I do.

    • TheJackB June 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm

       @The Outlaw Mama 
      Top five counts. I was picked once as Lurkers choice or something like that. But most weeks I barely get any votes.
      But I am cranky, crusty and curmudgeonly- we never give up.
      If you keep showing up your kids will notice that you do. That sort of attitude is something they can’t miss.

  22. Sandi Amorim June 26, 2012 at 5:38 am

    “I don’t give up. I don’t quit.”…
    Neither do I, but I have felt the urge tugging at me this week. And it’s not about what I want to quit so much why I want to quit. Can I turn this thing around back into a grand adventure? I hope so. For now I’ll borrow your words and do my best to live, love and laugh. 
    As always Jack, thought provoking in a way I hadn’t expected. Thank you. 

    • TheJackB June 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm

       @Sandi Amorim 
      Hi Sandi,
      You can turn it all around if you want to. Sometime you just have to suck it up and walk two steps farther and the sun comes out.
      When you were taking pix you must have had moments where the light changed and that made all the difference for the shot you were trying to take.

      • Sandi Amorim June 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm

         @TheJackB I was just telling someone about my pic-taking days earlier today. There was a kind of naivete I had back then that made it so enjoyable. Time to tap back into that, which will help make those two steps farther a little easier. Thanks Jack. 

  23. Jens June 26, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Hey Jack,
    Awesome lesson. It’s hard to understand why we’re here and what we’re suppose to do, but it helps to keep it simple 🙂

  24. kedar_24_12 June 26, 2012 at 4:57 am

    @AU_India @12akshayrawat Truly universal yet unknown… I think we should have clarity what we want in life and just execute it as per plans

  25. Faryna June 25, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    “Live, love and laugh.”
    Easier said than done, but worthwhile nonetheless.
    Recently on my blog:
    Once upon a time in social media

    • TheJackB June 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm

       @Faryna Yes, it is easier said than done but the more times I force myself to laugh the easier it becomes. Sometimes we forget how to do it, but it comes back quickly.

  26. CarrieSieffert June 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Love this Jack. This is exactly my belief too. Weidr to see other people share my strange sense of the world. Love it all!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like