IT PAYS TO KNOW: Pants on the Ground

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Judd new 3.14By JUDD MATSUNAGA, Esq.

As a Baby Boomer growing up in the ’60s, all of the TV dads were great role models. They were always giving sound, moral advice to their TV families.

From Jim Anderson (Robert Young, “Father Knows Best”), I learned about honesty. From Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith, “Andy Griffith Show”), I learned about responsibility. And from Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors, “The Rifleman”), I learned about courage.

The next generation of kids, commonly known as Generation X (who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s), didn’t have it so lucky. Their TV dads were idiots, e.g., Al Bundy (Ed O’Neil, “Married with Children”) and Homer Simpson (“The Simpsons”). Kelly, Bud, Bart, Lisa and Maggie failed to get any sound fatherly advice.

As a result, a new generation of kids:

Lookin’ like a fool

With your pants on the ground

With the gold in your mouth

Hat turned sideways

Pants hit the ground

(from “American Idol” audition, Season 9)

It is not surprising that when actor/comedian Bill Murray recently offered some wise advice at a bachelor party, the video went “viral.” Contemporary prophet Murray’s “Eight Life Lessons” video really connected with America’s youth who were starving for some sound, fatherly advice.

Since it’s Father’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share Murray’s fatherly advice that I found on The Huffington Post (6/4/14). However, as with all advice that I come across, I always filter it to the word of God. If it’s consistent with the Bible, I embrace it. On the other hand, if it contradicts the Bible, I reject it.

Lesson 1: Be an individual who also takes care of others.

Bill Murray: “I think we ought to be personally responsible … I think if you can take care of yourself, and then maybe try to take care of someone else, that’s sort of how you’re supposed to live.”

Jesus said, “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Having a moral “code of behavior” to help others is not only totally consistent with Christianity, but exists in most other major religions around the world.

The Bible says, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

Buddhism says, “Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.” (Udanavarga 5:18)

Hinduism says, “One should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated.” (Hitopadesa)

Confucianism says, “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” (Analects  15:23)

Lesson 2: Be open to all possibilities.

Bill Murray: “I live a little bit on the seat of my pants, I try to be alert and available. I try to be available for life to happen to me. We’re in this life, and if you’re not available, the sort of ordinary time goes past and you didn’t live it. But if you’re available, life gets huge. You’re really living it.”

This is also totally consistent with the word of God. Jesus said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” (Mark 10:27) In other words, the doctor might say (i.e., “humanly speaking”), “You’ll never walk again,” or “You’ve got six months to a year.” But if you’re open to a miracle, you could be whole and healed.

Caveat: You have a role to play too — you have to believe. The Bible says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1) Not faith in the doctor, but faith in God where “all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Lesson 3: Try not to focus on the bad; stay optimistic.

Bill Murray: “You have to hope that [good things]happen to you… That’s the only thing we really, surely have, is hope. You hope that you can be alive, that things will happen to you that you’ll actually witness, that you’ll participate in. Rather than life just rolling over you, and you wake up and it’s Thursday, and what happened to Monday? Whatever the best part of my life has been, has been as a result of that remembering.”

This is a lot like Lesson 2 and is also consistent with the word of God. The Bible says, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) In addition, Psalm 146:5 says, “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.”

Lesson 4: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Bill Murray: “I think romance basically starts with respect. And new romance always starts with respect. Like the song ‘Love the One You’re With’; there is something to that. It’s not just make love to whomever you’re with, it’s just love whomever you’re with. And love can be seeing that here we are and there’s this world here.”

Couldn’t find much on Lesson 4 in the Bible, but did find some dandy quotes on respect. Benjamin Franklin said of respect, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” Legendary basketball coach John R. Wooden said, “Respect a man, and he will do all the more.”

Actress Jodie Foster said, “Love and respect are the most important aspects of parenting, and of all relationships.” No doubt, respect is a form of love, which the Bible has much to say about, e.g., “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal 5:14)

Lesson 5: Don’t just coast through life.

Bill Murray: “As I once said to one of my brothers, ‘This is your life, not a rehearsal.’ Somewhere there’s a score being kept, so you have an obligation to live life as well as you can, be as engaged as you can…”

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army fought this way. As “the most decorated unit in U.S. military history,” the 442nd was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations and 21 of its members were awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II. The 442nd’s motto was “Go for Broke.”

This lesson is also totally consistent with the word of God. The Bible says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) We need to live our life that way, i.e., go all-out.

Lesson 6: Be someone at all times.

Bill Murray: “The human condition means that we can zone out and forget what the hell we’re doing. So the secret is to have a sense of yourself, your real self, your unique self. And not just once in a while, or once a day, but all through the day, the week and life. You know what they say: ‘Ain’t no try, ain’t nothing to it but to do it.'”

The Bible tells us that “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) If you knew, really understood your “real self,” you would be so stable and confident knowing how much you are loved, “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26)

Lesson 7: Accept the past, then move on.

Bill Murray: “I made a lot of mistakes and realized I had to let them go. Don’t think about your errors or failures, otherwise you’ll never do a thing.”

Also completely consistent with the word of God. “...But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead...” (Philippians 3:13) Jesus said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

In other words, you can’t go forward looking backwards. In plowing a field in that day, a farmer kept the rows straight by focusing on an object in front of him, off in the distance (such as a tree). If the farmer started to plow, and kept looking behind, he would never make straight rows and do a good job plowing. In our Christian life, we keep our eyes on Jesus in front of us, and never take our eyes off Him.

Lesson 8: Just relax!

This is Bill Murray in a nutshell: “The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything: the better you are with your loved ones, the better you are with your enemies, the better you are at your job, the better you are with yourself.”

Once again, also in the Bible: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

The invitation is to come to Him, and the promise is, “If you come, He will give you rest.” You see, my restlessness was my godlessness. But as I’ve learned to come to Jesus Christ, there is a beautiful peace inside, a rest. I am not running from God anymore. I am not fighting God anymore. It just feels so good — just relax!

Judd Matsunaga, Esq., is the founding partner of the Law Offices of Matsunaga & Associates, specializing in estate/Medi-Cal planning, probate, personal injury and real estate law. With offices in Torrance, Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Pasadena and Fountain Valley, he can be reached at (800) 411-0546. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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