[Note: this is not a posting on theme]
As writers we have a special privilege (& responsibility) to provide depth and clarity through our work. This doesn't mean being preachy or even being weighty; it simply means having larger meaning. Writing that is all candy doesn't stick with you -- it'll even make you a little nauseous, wish you hadn't gobbled quite so much. Weaving in bits of wisdom, golden nuggets of common sense, or slices of epiphanies means writing with substance. A little goes a long ways, but it's the bit that will stick with your reader long after the catchy plot fades.
My father is my hero, which means I tend to listen to his advice or at least take it into consideration. Here are five lines I've heard him say countless times over the years:
1. Don't be selfish.
2. Think before you act.
3. Life is a series of stepping stones.
4. Motherhood is mankind's highest calling.
5. In the end, all that matters is who you love and who loves you.
There are exceedingly long stories, sermons, and sandwiches wrapped up in all of these, but who cares what they mean to me. What do they mean to you? What are the proverbs, words of wisdom, or reality checks that your role models have handed down to you? Add your two cents worth via comments, and maybe we'll end up with a compendium of wisdom that outlasts us all.