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Twelve Steps To Be A Better Brother Or Sister
by JHW

WOULD YOU LIKE some pointers on how to improve your influence in family and society? Consider the following twelve steps as a good place to begin.

STEP 1:  Stop living for yesterday.  Bad things happened yesterday and yesteryear, but so did good things.  If you try to live too much of yesterday today, you rob yourself of the power and beauty of the present time, causing you and the people around you to suffer loss.  Let yesterday go.

STEP 2: Do not fear that tomorrow will bring more of what you do not desire.  Tomorrow is neither here nor promised.  Today has its own joys and challenges.  If you try to live both today and tomorrow right now, you will live neither. You may plan for the future, but you may not live it today.  Do not deny yourself or your brothers and sisters the present moment in time.  It is now that you can act.  It is now that now can make good choices.

STEP 3:  Leave off your wounds.  Many people insist on shoving their emotional wounds in others’ faces and thus add unnecessary turmoil into others’ lives.  This does not mean that you should not deal with your issues but that you should never push your wounds onto others, especially those who are not as mature as you are.

STEP 4: Do not entertain bitterness.  Disappointments can lead us to bitter thinking; however, you have the ability to direct your thoughts in a constructive direction.  The more positive and steady you are, the more good you will do for yourself and for those around you.  What is better, focus or frustration, faith or fear, friendship or fighting? Bitterness can lead you to act spitefully against your brother or sister, and you should never act out of spite.

STEP 5: Do not try to outdo your brother or sister when he or she brings you a complaint.  If someone shares a problem with you, don’t say, “Oh, you think that’s bad? Listen to this?” If you pay attention and don’t inject yourself into your brother or sister’s troubles, you can improve his or her chance at finding reasonable solutions,  Whatever you do, don’t heap more trouble into their spirit.  Remember, they came to you in search of answers, not more problems.

STEP 6:  Set your own mood.  Oftentimes, others can be negative and can speak negativity into the environment.  Do not absorb another’s negativity as your own negativity.  This holds true for fear, anger, envy or any negative emotion.  You must set your own intention on joy, peace, kindness, love, goodness, patience, etc. In this way, you will be able to respond maturely and effectively to your brother or sister’s issues.

STEP 7:  Forget your ethnicity.  As a brother or sister, you have no color or dialect.  Your ethnicity does not determine your attitude toward others, your mind does  When you respond to others out of your ethnic affiliations--even if subconsciously--you open a door to judge unfairly.  Additionally, you should not play the race card in an effort to get your way.  Understanding that people cannot help how they look when they are born is an important tool in responding fairly to humanity.  By observing behaviors and circumstances--as well as by keeping an open heart--you will discover a richer path to make equitable decisions.

STEP 8:  Set your mind on love.  If you have any intention for your brother or sister other than for his or her absolute best, you might not love your neighbor as you love yourself.  People succeed when others love and encourage them.  People struggle when others hate and discourage them.  A mind that is intent on seeking the best for all is a mind that is intent on loving.

STEP 9:  Remember your principles.  The truth is always important, albeit you should be tactful in your delivery.  Sometimes you have to say things that others do not want to hear.  Say what you have to say in love, with temperance.  Do not treat others as they would treat you because, if you do, you might end up responding as inappropriately as they would respond.  Think about it:  How far are people sometimes willing to go?  In contrast, your principles should be based on honor, respect, love, community, and the betterment of all; you must not respond to inappropriate behavior with more inappropriate behavior.  Remember who you are and what you stand for.  Your goal should be to help your brothers and sisters live principled lives, and you should not respond to them in some random, tit-for- tat fashion.

STEP 10:  Pray.  Never, never, never underestimate the power of prayer.  When you pray, believe, and do not fear because fear turns the intention of prayer upside down and inside out.  Your prayer is between you and the Creator; you do not have to explain your heart to anyone; you do not have to justify your prayerful intentions.  Just as you plant a seed in the ground and let it grow, so should you plant the seed of your prayer in your heart and mind...and let it grow.

STEP 11:  Do not wait for others to make the first move.  You be the better brother or sister first and trust God to honor your actions, words, and intentions.  Most religious traditions have a belief in “what comes around goes around,” “what you sow you also reap,” “karma” “cause and effect,” etc., so you don’t have to worry about who does or does not pay attention to you.  It is a law operating in our universe that responds to you, even when others seem to ignore you.  The world will be better off when you act first, for it will ultimately respond in like manner.

STEP 12:  Bear one another’s burdens.  The whole purpose of brotherhood and sisterhood is to build a world community of decent individuals, a community of peace and organization.  The objective should be to promote human dignity, honor, spirituality, love, and, ultimately, God’s goodness.  Such is done by bearing one another’s burdens.  This does not mean that some should work their lives away while others do noting and reap the benefits.  It means that we must connect people, technology and resources in such fashion that we pull up those who lag behind without pulling down those who lead the way.  Bearing one another’s burdens doesn’t work from top down only but from bottom up also...and all points in between.

You may be able to think of some other steps to add the these twelve.  Do what works for you and the people in your life.  Being a good brother or sister isn’t based so much on rules; it is an idea advanced by loving intentions.  We are a diverse people in a diverse world.  We each have our place, and you are important to our human family. We need you to make a difference.

Oftentimes, no matter what you do, someone is going to grumble about is, so you might as well do what you know is right--and keep doing what is right--without regard to the petty attitudes of those who would hold back progress.

Prisoner Letters

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