Stone wall, worn by time

Passing on what’s important

How much of what we’re all passing on in life is truly important? Not just to us and those immediately around us, but also for our community and the world more widely. Wouldn’t we hope that almost everything we were being told were meaningful, important, and worth structuring our lives around? If not, what kinds of bricks are we building our lives with?

Isn’t our view of life and sense of what’s important within it going to be shaped by everything we’re told? By all the direct and indirect examples offered to us by family, community, culture, education, news, and so forth. Don’t we take it all in? Accepting it, on some level, as an acceptable way to be living, relating, talking, thinking, acting, feeling, and behaving in life.

It seems reasonable to assume that’s how we’re getting our ideas on things (Notes One). But, how much of what’s around us is being offered up in the knowledge that “that” is what’s happening here? In all probability, many of these things must fall under being entertaining, enjoying ourselves or just the light-hearted passing of time. Maybe it’s assumed we’ll “know” not to take things seriously or make them part of everyday life?

How are we to know which things to take to heart, though? If we’re being presented with a completely mixed selection of serious and ridiculous ideas about life, how can we know which we’re dealing with? Not being clear on that, there must be a chance we’d take silly suggestions seriously while brushing significant ones aside. Wouldn’t that be quite difficult for the world around us, in a number of ways?

Passing anything on, there presumably needs to be quite a high level of awareness around what we’re saying, what it really means, why it matters, and how those we’re conveying it to will need to integrate it into their own, personal understanding of life. The “recipient” presumably also needs, somehow, to know which things to take seriously – isn’t accepting what’s handed to you a pretty essential step in the chain? (Notes Two)

In that, it seems there’s quite a large communicative element to living within society: all these ways we’re establishing, acting upon, upholding, and conveying meaning through all the moments of life. This idea that “the way we live” paints a picture of how we see things and how much we’re valuing them all (Notes Three). We might not truly “mean” everything we sometimes seem to be saying, but it’s perhaps all still out there.

Doesn’t it all matter quite a lot for the lives we’ll be living? If the ideas we have in mind prepare us for life and how to live it – furnishing us with the insight and skill needed to navigate wisely from beginning to end – this whole task of successfully passing on what matters seems so important. As does developing the discernment needed to clearly see what’s being offered and know whether to make it part of your own view of life.

Notes and References:

Note 1: What we know to pass on
Note 1: How ideas find their place in the world
Note 2: Education as a breaking away?
Note 2: Knowledge, capacity & understanding
Note 2: Meaning within it all
Note 3: Is honesty actually the best policy?
Note 3: The value of a questioning attitude?
Note 3: Values, and what’s in evidence
Note 3: Joining the dots

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