One activity that I like to do is to visit book warehouse sales, which have been very popular in recent years. The good thing about buying book from w/h sales is I can take a chance on books which I would normally not buy in a book store, especially the self-help books, and authors that I usually would not read. The cheap prices makes the risk worth taking and i would at most end up with a shelf of unread books, which is what i have now. With almost all the major book stores having w/h sales every few months, my house is cluttered with books.
During the recent MPH w/h sale, I found this book The 10 Commandments of Common Sense by Hal Urban – Wisdom from the scriptures for people of all beliefs.
It is an insightful read and reaffirms the values that all humans should possess. The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 talks about the five things to avoid because they are bad for us, and the author lists them as the first five commandments. Part 2 talks about the things we should do because they are good for us. In summary, the 10 commandments are:
Commandment 1: Don’t be seduced by popular culture. It prevents you from thinking for yourself
Commandment 2: Don’t fall in love with money and possessions. It will make you greedy and shallow
Commandment 3: Don’t use destructive language. It hurts others as well as yourself.
Commandment 4: Don’t judge other people. It’s better to work on your own faults
Commandment 5: Don’t let anger get out of control. It can wreck relationships and ruin lives.
Commandment 6: Keep a positive outlook on life. It’s the first step towards joy.
Commandment 7: Bring out the best in other people. It’s better to build up than to tear down.
Commandment 8: Have impeccable integrity. It brings peace of mind and a reputation of honour.
Commandment 9: Help those in need. It really is better to give than to receive.
Commandment 10: Do everything in love. It’s the only way to find true peace and fulfillment.
As a non Christian reading the book, it’s refreshing that the author talks about how christians are proned to judge other faiths and that he is a thinking, open-minded, ecumencial, non judgmental Christian.
His book quotes proverbs from the Old and New Testament, as well as words of wisdom from various modern people and other non Christian religious leaders.
He answers questions about money – “How much is enough?” and quote Michael Pritchard :”No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather.
On anger, he quote Confucius – “When anger arises, think of the consequences.” and gave us a list of the possible consequences of anger run amok. One example: The end of a life – murders or suicide.
Commendments 7 and 8 strike a cord in me. As i struggle with my teenage son on honesty recently, I realise that I had failed to become a life-enhancer. Life-enhancer are people who make us glad we’re alive and the author believes leaders like teachers and parents should possess this quality. Perhaps you are interested to know the seven ways to bring out the best in other people.
1. Show genuine interest (reminded me of Ajahn Brahm)
2. Listen with your heart
3. Teach and monitor
4. Affirm and praise
5. Encourage and inspire
6. Be a source of comfort
7. Celebrate life!
He narrates an episode during a visit to Singapore. Yes, SINGAPORE. He was here to give a talk on effective communication and spoke about listening with your heart. Shortly after his talk, a Chinese man came up to him told him that the symbol for ‘listen” in Chinese has several parts, each relating to the various aspects of listening. One of the symbols represent the mouth, while another represents the ears. The most interesting part was a symbol of ten eyes. One mouth, two ears and ten eyes. The Chinese explained that there were ten eyes because they’re so important in communicating to other person that we are really listening. At the centre of the symbol are a one and a heart. In other words, all part that lead to genuine listening add up to a single thing – the heart.
See if you agree.
I’m having problem teaching my sons about honesty and integrity. The GEP stressed alot on integrity to the kids and this quote by Spencer Johnson explains the best: “Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
All common sense, but one needs to be reminded all the same. Read this book.