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Life and Death

Copyright September 7, 2015 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.


Baby in Stroller Each of us is born, and then we live for awhile, but eventually we all die.
  1. Birth: None of us had any control over when or where we were born. It just happened.

  2. Death: Most of us do not have any control over when, where, or how we will die. However, of this we can be certain -- death will eventually claim every one of us.

  3. Life: Although we cannot control our birth or our death, most of us do have some control over how we live our lives.
The purpose of this article is to examine some of the choices that we make during our lives.

Life Choices

The choices we make during our lives will fall into one of the following four categories: necessary choices, good choices, neutral choices, and bad choices.

  1. Necessary Choices: These are the decisions we make about the necessities of life, such as water, food, clothing, and shelter. These items are needed by everyone and therefore we must all make decisions on how we are going to acquire these basic necessities for ourselves and for our family. We will continue to make decisions about these things during our entire lives and if we fail to provide these basic necessities then death will be the result.

  2. Good Choices: These are the decisions we make that have the potential to improve the quality of life for our family. Examples would be our education and the education of our family members, where we choose to live, and the work we do that provides the income we need to buy the basic necessities for our families.

  3. Neutral Choices: These are the decisions we make that do not have a positive or a negative impact on our life. Examples might be the type of food we eat, the type of music we listen to, and the type of vehicle we drive.

  4. Bad Choices: These are the decisions we make that reduce the quality of life for our family, or that shorten our life expectancy. Examples would be a compulsive gambling habit where you gamble away your paycheck instead of using that money to provide for your family, or consuming an excessive amount of alcohol on a regular basis and it eventually results in the loss of your job, and a breakup of your family unit, and a shorter life expectancy.
If a person's basic objective is to live a happy, prosperous, successful life then that person should give some very careful thought to the types of choices that he or she makes on a regular basis. This may mean that some short-term sacrifices will need to be made in order to achieve a desirable long-term good choice. For example, a family may decide to temporarily minimize certain expenses (eat less expensive food) or eliminate certain expenses (give up cable television) in order to save enough money to make a down payment on a home in a desirable neighborhood that would improve the quality of the educational and social experiences for their children, and minimize their exposure to theft and violent crime, and increase the number of good job opportunities for all the members of their family.


Some people achieve great success during the course of their lives. However, regardless of how successful a person might be, every person's life ends the same way in death.

For example, the life history of two successful brothers is mentioned in some encyclopedias as follows:
  1. Dr. Albert Schweitzer: Born 1875 in France and died 1965 in Africa. At the age of 30 he dedicated his life to learning medicine and at the age of 37 he became a medical missionary to one of the most backward tribes in Africa. In 1913 he built a medical hospital with his own hands on the Ogowe River in Africa. He won the Nobel Prize for peace in 1952. He labored in his African hospital until his death in 1965 at the age of 90 and he was buried beside his wife in Africa. (Note: This is just a 4 sentence summary of an entire half-page of information about Albert's life that appears in most encyclopedias.)

  2. Dr. Paul Schweitzer: Brother of Albert Schweitzer. (Note: Most encyclopedias do not even mention Dr. Paul Schweitzer. On those rare occasions when he is mentioned the only thing that is said about him in the encyclopedia is that he was the brother of Albert Schweitzer. However, if you take the time to do some careful research you will discover that Paul was an extremely successful and very wealthy businessman in Europe and that he was highly praised by the other businessmen of his day. However, none of his many, many accomplishments have been recorded in the encyclopedias that summarize the lives of important people.)
Some people believe that there is a "hereafter or heaven" and that death is only the end of life here on this earth. If you are one of those people then which of the above two brothers do you believe received the most rewards in the next life ... rewards that last for eternity and that will never perish?

If you are a Christian then how much thought do you give on a regular basis to making good choices that will result in eternal rewards?

Whether you are a Christian or not, you might enjoy reading the following three poems on my website: Birth and Not Death, and Good News, and One Wish and Not Three.


Click on www.grandpappy.org for Robert's Home Page.

Grandpappy's e-mail address is: RobertWayneAtkins@hotmail.com