July 13, 2009

1000 Important Things To Teach My Sons

1000 Important Things To Teach My Sons Before They...*

I saw this idea in the past week, just glanced at it quickly on the back page of a magazine or somewhere, but it's been surfacing quite often in my brain, probably every time I've talked to my boys. I am in the fatherly habit of imparting words of wisdom, nuggets of good sense that I know they are treasuring in their hearts and minds. In the odd occasion that they might forget or misinterpret my sage advice after I toss them out into the wide world to fend for themselves, I plan to give them each several copies of the following list, framed or on t-shirts, of the top one thousand adages, quotes, helpful hints, admonitions, suggestions, and just plain good ol' common sense that will help them find the path to a rewarding, productive, and relatively hassle and stress-free life (such as don't write convoluted, run-on sentences).

I am, as always, open to suggestions. Which conveniently is also a good suggestion (see #4 below). What tenets do you live your life by? Mottos, slogans, rules? What did you learn while growing up that has served you well? What are you teaching your children? I know it's not good to copy other's work (#5!) but it is good to learn from others' experience and knowledge (#6).

*= ...Before They Turn 18? ...Grow Up and Move Out? ...Have Children of Their Own?

I don't really have anything for the list yet. I have slightly less than 3 years before Son #1 turns 18, so I figure that gives me plenty of time to compile, organize, and laminate. My big 3 now, the answers to 99.9% of any situation or issue I've run across in my years as a Dad are as follows:

1. Go to the bathroom.
2. Save your money.
3. Look it up.

try 'em. guaranteed applicable and effective.

4. Be open to suggestions.

5. Keep your eyes on your own paper.

6. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

7. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." John F. Kennedy (1961)

8. Go to college.

9. Learn how to cook. *

10. Respect, respect, respect: the person you are with, how others want to be treated, and yourself (shouldn't this count as 3 Things?)

11. Know how to clean the bathroom. *

12. Put the toilet seat down. *

13. Stay active.

14. this is a long one, but worth it:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." Robert A. Heinlein

15. Bring her flowers without her having to ask.*

16. Say "I love you" before he/she/they do.

17. Open doors for others.* Physically and metaphorically.

18. Read the Declaration of Independence.

19. Do not go shopping on major holidays. Salespeople should have the day off too.

20. Listen to Jim Croce: Never tug on Superman's cape...

21. Dance.

22. Wear sunscreen.

23. Never choose a girl/woman over your friends.

24. Learn how to do it right. And if you can't do it right, pay someone who knows how to do it right.

25. Do it right the first time.

26. Don't smoke. Except quality cigars on special occasions.

27. Do as I say, not as I do.

28. Lead by example.

29. Lead, Follow, or get the hell out of the way.

30. Turn on the water on a public sink verrrrrry carefully!

31. Shake well.

32. Save your money.

33. Then again, you can't take it with you.

34. Don't finish bad books.

* denotes came with some variation of "because chicks dig it"


Lorin said...

For the health of their future relationships, I'd like to suggest something along these lines: Bring her flowers without her having to ask.

As a sci-fi nerd, I've always liked Heinlein's specialization is for insects list from Time Enough for love.

JK said...

great suggestions Lorin, thank you!

Martin said...

# 14 is a bit of a stretch.