Since my now 19-year-old son was in preschool, I have asked my kids to complete three tasks each day: learn something new, help someone else and have fun.
When we all gather again at the dinner table, we share how we each met those three tasks during our days at school or work. The ritual of the three tasks has remained as meaningful to me as it has been for my children.
The job of learning something new seems pretty straightforward. They're going to school to learn, right?
We all know the learning in life doesn't stop with graduation. I've learned more about caring for people in the years since getting my M.D. than all of medical school.
Ask the average grownup, "What did you learn today?" and in place of an immediate verbal response, you may get a stunned facial expression or one that asks, "Are you crazy?"
Everyone who attended social studies classes has heard that if we don't learn from history, we are destined to repeat it.
In real life, the tests come before the lessons. We're supposed to learn from our mistakes. If we do, we eventually become wiser.
If we don't pay attention, we miss the lesson. We fall or fail then react without reflection.
But don't worry. If you didn't pick up on the lesson to be learned, you'll get to repeat it. If we don't learn from life we keep getting the same lesson over and over.
The tests will keep coming up when you least expect them, like pop quizzes.
So as adults, we too can reflect on what we have learned each day. By starting each day meditating on, "What can I learn today?" you will be more open to new insights into your world, your situation, the people in your life, your relationships and yourself.
"If I don't like how I'm feeling today, what can I do differently to feel better?
What is my role and responsibility? Am I repeating a pattern that hasn't worked a hundred times before?"
Do we ever master our lives? Do the lessons ever end?
I haven't reached that advanced age or stage of wisdom. Yet I do know that we continue to grow as long as we are challenging ourselves, making new mistakes and learn from the lessons of life.
And let's hope that we never get so old or so wise that we can no longer laugh at ourselves.
Dr. Davidicus Wong is a physician and writer. You can find his latest posts at facebook.com/davidicus.wong and davidicuswong.wordpress.com and listen to his Positive Potential Medicine podcasts at wgrnradio.com.