This is what is planned to be the first of a series of posts I will be doing for Alex and Meri. I want to jot down life lessons and other words of advice for them as they grow up. And since placing things on the web is what I do, I might as well do it here.
I haven’t worked out the exact format these will take, so they may not be very consistent to start, but eventually I’ll find the sweet spot and will get a rhythm going. Some may be single lines. Some may be whole paragraphs. It’s all about how the mood strikes me. There will be no chronology. Kid lessons will be mixed in with adult lessons. You’ll figure it out. Let’s see where this goes…
Life Lessons for Alexandra and Meredith.
1. Your mom and dad will always love you no matter what.
2. Learn how to lose
You will undoubtedly grow up in this era where everyone gets a trophy for participation. People don’t “keep score” any more. People don’t want their precious snowflakes to have hurt feelings. You know what? Real life is not like that. Life does not give you awards just for showing up. Like it or not, life is about winning and losing. And if you are always made to feel like a winner, even when you didn’t actually do anything, you never learn what it really means to win. Winning is important. Losing is important. In my life, I have learned FAR more from losing than I ever did from winning. Losing teaches you what is essential. Losing can bring focus and drive and desire. Losing can help you figure out what is really meaningful in your life. If you compete and lose but don’t feel bad about it, it wasn’t that important to you to begin with. But, if you lose and it hurts like hell, then you know more about your desires. It will teach you to do what is necessary to achieve a victory. And because you worked for it, that victory will be all the sweeter.
Every single successful person in life will tell you one thing. They have lost more than they have won. But, because they knew losses were temporary setbacks that can be overcome, they didn’t let themselves become discouraged by them. You can be great… if you want it.
3. Righty tighty, lefty loosey.
4. Please and thank you go a long way
This one is for your mother. Nothing makes her crazier than not saying please and thank you. I still make this mistake with her, though I try not to. You should make it a habit to thank anyone who provides you a service. I don’t care if it’s the cashier at the grocery store, the waiter in the restaurant, the driver in the cab. Everyone works hard in this world, and simple courtesy of “please” and “thank you” can really brighten someone’s day.
5. Sunblock is not optional. It is required.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
I know there will come a time in the not too distant future where you both will pepper your mother and me with nonstop questions. Why what why where why? I promise to do my best to answer them for you. Even when I’m having a bad day and don’t feel like answering “what is the dog thinking?” for the 27th time.
7. Spend time reading every day
There are so many good books that you could never read them all in your lifetime, but you can sure try.
8. In history class, don’t be the person who asks, “do we have to know the dates?”
Even if your teacher doesn’t say so, dates are important. You should remember when the Civil War was. You should know when the Declaration of Independence was signed. You should know when Columbus landed in the new world. That is part of being an educated person.
9. If something is worth having, it’s worth paying cash for. Be very careful with credit.
10. Learn to drive a stick shift.
I will help you do this. I know most cars nowadays are automatics, but someday you will be in a situation where the only available means of transportation will be a vehicle with a manual transmission. It’s not as hard as you think.
11. Make a big deal about Mother’s Day for your Mom. You wouldn’t believe how hard she works for you.
12. Be wary of anything you post online.
Before hitting “submit” think to yourself, is this something I want my parents, teachers, grandparents or boss to see? Nothing is “private” online. Know that anything you post online will be there forever.
That’s all I have for now, but I’m compliling a list which I will post periodically. You can find them all by clicking the “Lessons” category at the top of this post or in the right column.
I can’t wait to watch you grow up.