The most important things in life

Middle-age and older Americans often heard or thought about the "American Dream." If you planned well and worked hard, you could have the good life.

Most young people today are not acquainted with that philosophy of life. The questions and thoughts in their minds are very different.

Part of most Americans' dream traditionally was to have a husband or wife, children, a comfortable home and secure livelihood. A good job, nice farm or small business was a common aspiration. Traditional norms and values were generally passed on from generation to generation with limited modifications. Times have changed.

We are privileged to do considerable counseling of young people in their late teens, 20s and 30s. Two terms that many will grab onto are: the good life and joy and happiness. Because of all the pain that fills the lives of many young people, they tend to think in different terms. Regardless of their background and upbringing, their future looks rather dark and uncertain.

It is important to discuss who we are and who we can be. Once individuals get beyond believing that they are the products of their circumstances, a new outlook can be pursued. After a session or two, thinking patterns are usually modified.

They can make a list of the five or 10 most important things in their lives. As time goes on, they can modify this list. What seemed terribly important may lose much of its significance. Only God could make the perfect list. Consciously or unconsciously, we all have our lists.

As we live, our values shift. We could all make our lists and then change them periodically.

For the '10 Club, Jan. 10 takes us to Genesis 26 and Matthew 9.

- This is a Chaplain's Corner column reprinted from a past issue of Lillie Suburban Newspapers.

Crist Langelett, known to North St. Paul and Maplewood readers as a longtime Review columnist, is a chaplain for the North St. Paul city, police and fire departments, a chaplain at Washington County Jail, a past president of the North St. Paul Area Emergency Food Shelf and one of the founders of North St. Paul's Polar Arena. He is active in his local church and in civic groups.