Last year I became an Aunt. It has definitely changed my outlook on life as well as my view on children. Up until my nephew’s birth, I viewed babies as alien creatures – so far removed from my sphere of recognition that I didn’t know how to act around them. Now, as an Aunt, I feel a great deal of responsibility for this tiny person. There are so many things I want to teach him and so many films I can’t wait to share with him. It is with this in mind that I write this list. He is too young to understand it, or watch the films listed, but in time, it will be shared. It will probably also be edited and adjusted, but here it is as it stands right now.  These are my Top 5 tenants to life as well as the films to help illustrate them in action. As they are universal, I thought I’d post them here.  I know I can always use a reminder of a couple of these.

1. Be Kind

Always be kind to people. Don’t do it to gain some sort of advantage. Do it because it makes you feel good in return. And if you find that being kind to others does not make you feel good, then take a step back and evaluate what’s going on in your own life that’s causing such a feeling of discourse.

(Film: Up)

2. Take Another Look

View situations/opinions/arguments from every angle. Just because someone has a different take than you on a subject does not make their point less valid. Gaining perspective allows you to see the world for what it truly is – one big gray area. It is easy to judge others. It takes strength to understand where a person is coming from. And when you discover that perhaps you were mistaken, acknowledge your change in view.

(Film: To Kill a Mockingbird)

3. Have a Laugh & Dream

It’s okay to be silly. In fact, I encourage it! One of the greatest gifts we are given is the ability to laugh and be irreverent. Try to find the humor in as many situations as possible. The world is only as bleak as you make it. Allow your imagination to run wild. It is through imagination that you will discover anything is possible!

(Films: Ghostbusters, Big Fish)

4. Experience the World

Activity is how we remind ourselves we are alive. Go see the world. It is filled with so many beautiful sights! Take risks. Be smart, but take risks. Fill your time with as much variety as you can. Those are the events, journeys, relationships and experiences that last long after the return home. Never lose your sense of wonder. Remain inquisitive. You will never have all the answers and it is the knowledge of that humility that will keep your fire burning bright.

(Film: Wizard of Oz)

5. Make an Impact

This is one of the easiest things you can do. Your love will leave an imprint of warmth on all that are touched by it. Your kindness will affect those who receive it. Let your instinct guide you and you will create your own path of happiness. You will not realize the impact that you have had. But if you lead a true life, you will have left a mark upon the world and those around you. And that is the best that any of us can do. Trust me.

(Film: It’s a Wonderful Life)