I went to a funeral today for a man that I didn’t personally know but who was the father of a good friend of mine.
Funerals always leave me feeling like I wish I knew the person more while they were alive. I wish I wasn’t so busy all of the time and had more time to really get to know people.
This man was a good man. There were around 1500 people at this funeral which in itself says something about how many lives he had encouraged.
All day I have been thinking about this man and his story. Thinking about what an amazing family he had, what amazing children and grand children and what an incredible life he lived.
It wasn’t a life focused on things like travel, nice houses and fancy cars it was a life filled with people and relationships and service.
There were 5 main things I took away from today that I think we could all learn a thing or two from…
1) Family is everything. Invest time and energy into your family and care about those relationships. I do understand this can be complicated for some people and their situations. When I reflect on the past 8 years of having kids and becoming quite busy I can see some of my sibling relationships becoming more distant. Today was a reminder to me to fight for those relationships as they are valuable.
2) Being great does not equal doing something great. Being great equals doing lots of little things and over time all of that accumulated good turns into great. Don’t underestimate the little things you do day in day out as those things add up to big things and that is what is truly amazing. Alternatively, if you want to make a difference in the world just start by doing little things and then just keep doing those things.
3) Money does not matter as much as you think. The story of this family was not one focused on material wealth. It was of making do, creativity, helpful friends and lots of fun. This family was built on love and service to others and the community and they are some of the happiest most well rounded and caring people I know. They speak of nothing but fond memories of their childhood camping and playing cricket in the backyard and riding their bikes to school.
4) Be kind and generous. This man was kind and generous and 1500 people showed up to farewell him today because of that kindness. He didn’t shower people with money and presents he showered them with encouragement, acceptance, time and love. These things are what truly mattered to the people in the room the most and changed their lives. I hope to become more kind and generous in my life.
5) Love your partner. He loved his wife like she was his everything and she loved him right back. This was the foundation for their family and their life.