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Commentary: Learn to live wisely at School of Life

I just learned there is a school in London called the School of Life. It was founded in 2008 by a philosopher named Alain de Botton as an educational company focused on how to live wisely and well. It has branches in Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Istanbul, Melbourne, Paris, Sao Paulo, Sidney, Seoul and Tel Aviv. None, apparently in the United States. Is that because we already live wisely and well here or that we just don't care? The programs and services of the company cover fulfilling work, mastering relationships, achieving calm, and understanding the changing world. You can't get a degree there and there is no stated tuition. It appears they have a library, sell books and hold workshops for which they charge a fee (with a discount for seniors).

What struck me immediately when I read about the School of Life is that, based on my age, experience and number of trips around the block, that I should be a professor in that School. I would have a class of beginners who were in need of understanding some of the very basic rules laid down over the years by some very famous historical figures and some unknown everyday ordinary citizens who know what is what.

Accordingly, a short course would be laid out in 15 chapters, one for each week and discussed at length. Each chapter, and its author would be listed for detailed study and discussion as follows (things everybody ought to know to live wisely and well):

• You're not as smart as you think you are. (Val, my mother)

• Hustle all the way to first base or you'll never get to second. (Jake, my dad)

• It's not all about you, you know. (Eartha, my wife)

• You can't score if you don't shoot. (Coach Al Keck)

• Life is not fair. (John F. Kennedy)

• There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved. (George Sand)

• Silence is golden when you can't think of a good answer. (Muhammad Ali)

• You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours. (Yogi Berra)

• Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching. (Satchel Paige)

• How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are? (Satchel Paige)

• Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines. (Satchel Paige)

• Gentlemen, why don't you laugh? With the fearful strain that's on me night and day, if I did not laugh, I should surely die, and you need this medicine as much as I do. (Abraham Lincoln)

• Only the dead have the seen the end of war. (Plato)

• If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk through my garden forever. (Alfred Tennyson)

• I am not sure exactly what Heaven will be like, but I know that when I die and it comes time for God to judge us, He will not ask, "how many good things have you done in your life?" Rather, He will ask, "how much love did you put into what you did?" (Mother Theresa)

Don't you wish you could enroll in the School of Life and exchange your own ideas and experiences with the ideas and experiences of the masters?

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