15 Life Lessons from Three Wise Men


One thing about being a bit later in your life is that you’ve, hopefully, been blessed to meet some wise and impactful people who provided life lessons. I’m no exception, and there are three people who stand out as the wisest. 

All three were young men – boys – who battled cancer and died from such at different early ages – 4, 13, 16. All three fought their personal challenges with vigor, grace, laughter, and grit. I watched all three gift their parents with immense love and joy. And, all three offered their greater community life lessons of incredible simplicity and wisdom.

Each left an indelible mark on my soul.

They offered me the gift of perspective, of clarity, of hope through pain. They also each broke through the complexities and layers of life drama that most people let cloud their views. All three offered a pure and simple outlook on life and rules to live by, which frankly, everyone should follow. Their wisdom has carried me literally through the darkest time in my life, and gifts me each day.

Life Lessons for Hard Days

Right now, our world feels very challenging. The levels of hatred, expressions of rage, impact of climate change, inevitable swing of economic downturn, and the physical and mental health crises – it too much sometimes. Our country has had times of implosion before, but it’s been quite a while since essentially every corner of our society seems to be falling apart. We need to pull from our arsenal of wisdom to get through. 

15 Rules for Life

Since I’ve been blessed with such grace from these young men, I now gift it to you during these hard times. Read this. Then, read it again. Read it a third time.

So, in honor of Jack, Miles and Zach, here are their combined life lessons and rules for life, which perhaps, not ironically, all echo one another with similar themes. They were clearly all on to something.

  1. Eat Cake. And other junk.
  2. Be kind. Be Compassionate.
  3. Help others. Volunteer. Share.
  4. Swing at the plate.
  5. Smile, a lot. Tell jokes, good ones, bad ones, stupid ones.
  6. Put anger behind you and get back to life. Apologize if needed.
  7. Sing if you want to sing.
  8. Tell those you love that you love them. Hug them.
  9. Stay busy doing lots of things.
  10. Love and surround yourself with animals.
  11. Find your passions and go deep. Learn everything you can about them and then learn more.
  12. Keep moving forward. Always.
  13. Run towards those with cancer, or other hard things. Don’t stop.
  14. Don’t let grief suffocate you. Be sad but use the choices grief gives you for action.
  15. Move with urgency.

Thanks guys. We needed you.

If you want to support causes that are special to these young men’s families and battle youth cancer, you can donate to any of the following:

MIB Agents

One Summit

Jimmy Fund

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Hi All, I’m Rebecca! I’ve worked in marketing strategy in the healthcare and wellness industry since college and my MBA for 20+ years (yikes!!). I’m blessed to have combined my geeky professional self with my passions: awareness of and mental health supports for disenfranchised populations and communities. I volunteer in educating the greater community about the real experiences of those in (and out of) recovery from the disease of addiction. I was so honored to give a TED talk in 2019 about removing stigma and shame by simply shifting the language we use, as this is near and dear me. Yet, at the end of the day, my family is everything in my world. I live with my husband Mike and two teenage sons in Lee, along with a crazy cattle dog (Maggie), cat (Leia), fish, 100 snails and soon to be chickens. While a Jersey shore girl at heart, living in MA and NH since the late 90s has fully converted me to a New England sports fan and avid skier, hiker and kayaker. I guess I’m a perfectly imperfect, harmonious, and happy runner, who cares deeply for humans, and Mother Nature. Follow me on Instagram @mommabear5786 to see what life in a house of boys, recovery, loud music, a bit of attitude, and nature looks like!