A blogger, Kate Connor, recently posted "Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls", I will share it with my girls. This is my list for my boys.
As you go through life, there are a few things you need to know. Most, I learned from my dad, but some I learned by the experiences I hope you can avoid.
- Respect women. All women. Respect means treating them as you would want your future wife treated by others. Open doors for them. Offer your hand or arm when walking. Some may turn you down; don’t let that stop you from being courteous. Only date women that have respect for you, themselves, and others. "Don't kiss and tell" involves so much more than "kissing" and "telling." Don't ever say anything to anyone you would not want said about you. Be one who deserves their respect and trust, and never betray it, ever. Respect men too.
- Don’t be so dramatic. Practically everything social that happens in high school has a zero net effect on the rest of your life. Friends come and go, true friends stay. You might find this out the hard way. Surround yourself with friends that you can trust, and that will build you up and make you strong.
- Don’t take pictures of or write things you shouldn’t. You know exactly what these things are. Anything you document in any form, whether you post it online or not, has the potential to come back to haunt you. Your closet will be full of the skeletons you created by accident, don't fill it with ones you created on purpose. You will probably still do stupid things. Fix the things you can, then move on.
- Use your head. Your heart makes you do things you might regret. Listen to your heart, but don't follow it blindly. Your head takes longer to make decisions, and is therefore more likely to choose correctly. Common sense is far too sparse these days. Your heart will be broken, probably multiple times. If it’s not, you are either extremely lucky, or didn’t actually care as much as you thought you did.
- Being sad is okay. So is being angry. However, never make a decision when consumed by either of these emotions; usually you will make the wrong choice. Be cheerful, even when the situation isn't ideal, and you will have a much a happier life.
- Avoid all forms of performance enhancing or mood altering drugs. The best path for success always includes hard work. You may not succeed at everything you try, and that is fine. It does not give you permission to stop trying.
- Smoking is not cool. It is not smart. You will thank yourself when you can tell your own child you have never ever smoked.
- What other people think of you matters a lot more than you think it does, and a lot less. There will be times in your future that everything that you have worked for will rest on what people think of you. What your boss, your wife, your children think of you will alter your course in life more than you realize. Never be afraid of working too hard, but don’t let your work become more important than your family. You can (and probably will) change employment numerous times in your life. Your family – especially the one you created yourself should be the most important thing in your life.
- Help others. Male or female, no matter their station. You will get much further in life by bringing people with you than holding or pushing them back. Help them for their benefit, not yours. Your benefit will often show up later in unexpected ways.
- You are exceptional. Every day you have the choice on how to live your future. It’s okay to be wrong and change course, but make sure you have weighed the potential final outcomes, not just the immediate roadblocks. You are important to someone, somewhere, always. Be worthy of that admiration. There are successful people in every industry, regardless of height or weight. What matters most is your attitude. Never act less than the prince you are, and the king that you can become.
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