The 14 lessons Zell Miller wanted his family to know

Georgia Sen. Zell Miller spoke Wednesday evening, Sept. 1, 2004, to the Republican National Convention in New York City.  09012004  (KEITH MYERS/The Kansas City Star/TNS)

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Georgia Sen. Zell Miller spoke Wednesday evening, Sept. 1, 2004, to the Republican National Convention in New York City. 09012004 (KEITH MYERS/The Kansas City Star/TNS)

‘Those who teach lessons are not smart or know everything. They’ve just lived a long time.’

Before a trio of former presidents eulogized Zell Miller, his grandson Bryan gave a show-stopping speech of his own.

Miller revealed Tuesday that his grandfather wrote a private letter to family members in February 2002 when he turned 70. In that note, he included 14 lessons he wanted to share with those closest to him.

The younger Miller shared those tips to the hundreds of mourners who packed his grandfather's funeral. And we wanted to share it with you, dear reader, as well:

  1. If you listen more than you talk, you will not only learn more, but people will think you are smarter, not dumber, than you really are. 
  2. For every action there is a consequence – always. It can be a good consequence or a bad one, but it will come just as sure as night follows the day.
  3. Use frequently but sincerely the words, "I'm sorry", "thank you", and "I love you." 
  4. Being on time will be noted and will impress people. Being late is a very rude thing to do. It says to the other people, "my time is more important than your time." A person who is always late is a selfish person. Mark it down.
  5. Being mentally tough will help you more in life than being physically tough.
  6. Whiners are terrible people to be around. Don't be one. Ask yourself from time to time, "Am I whining too much?" Blaming others for your own misfortune is the same thing and just as bad. 
  7. Notice and appreciate what makes your heart leap up. If nothing does, examine your life because something is missing. 
  8. Search for your niche. This may take years, although often it occurs early in life. There is something out there that you can do better or easier than other people. You have a knack or talent for it. Find it. It's there. And when you do, others will beat a path to your door to get you to do it for them. It may bring fame, fortune or happiness. Keep in mind that there are also things you just simply cannot do very well, but there are others who can. If you're lucky, you will marry them. 
  9. From time to time, make yourself do something you don't really want to do. It will make you stronger. 
  10. Smoking will shorten your life. I've seen too many loved ones die because of it. 
  11. Family and home are important. One should know where he came from and who suffered or sacrificed to get us where we are. Having a sense of family and having a sense of place is going to be increasingly hard in this modern, fast moving, ever-changing world. But if you do, it will bring you comfort and stability. 
  12. Those who teach lessons are not smart or know everything. They've just lived a long time. 
  13. Keep a good sense of humor, and laugh at yourself more than you do others.