What Really Matters


Here are some wise words from author and professor Peter Kreeft, author of Before I Go: Letters to Our Children about What Really Matters.

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One of the stupidest songs I ever heard on TV was the theme song of a kids’ show of the seventies, “The Electric Company.” It said: “The most important person in the whole wide world is – you!” Implied message: be a self-centered little spoiled brat. You’re number one, everyone else is number two.

Here is an alternative philosophy:

  1. The most important person is God. This is necessarily true as 2 + 2 = 4. It is true whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not. So you’d better learn to know it and like it and believe it.
  2. The second most important person in the world is the person you marry. Nobody else comes even close. That’s what marriage is. If you don’t know that, you’re not really married.
  3. Next come your kids.
  4. Then comes yourself. Take care of yourself before taking care of anyone else except your kids, your spouse, and your God. Because if you don’t inflate your own oxygen mask first, you won’t be able to help others inflate theirs.
  5. Then comes your friends. Never betray a friend.
  6. Then comes everyone else you know, your “neighbors.”
  7. Then comes the rest of the world.
  8. Then comes things, any and all things: money, the things money can buy – houses, cars, vacations. Stuff. (Remember George Carlin’s routine about “stuff.”) Always, people before things. Use things and love people, not vice versa.
  9. Finally, abstractions: ideas, causes, organizations, political parties, etc. they are means to the rest as ends. By the way, the Church is not an “organization,” it’s a family. I never saw “organized religion,” only disorganized religion, like Noah’s ark.
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