All over the internet parent blogs, these lists of things that parents want their kids to know keep popping up. Some of them seem pretty decent advice. Some of them have strangely specific instructions, like which types of expensive goods to buy, such as purses as opposed to jeans. Hmm…
Ok, if that’s what works for them but it was pretty obvious that most of them are being written by young moms or dads of young children. They have an air of jocularity and anticipation that comes with uncharted territory. That’s cool and all, but being the parent of teens, I think the list of advice I want my boys to carry through their lives from their mom is a little more consequential than which item of clothing is better to buy expensive versus not. It’s probably because we have already had so many parenting/growing up experiences together that whatever I might have told them, say ten years ago, has changed. So here it is, ten things that I want my sons to remember as they grow into young men.
#1 Treat people the way you WANT to be treated by them. For instance, if you want to hear praise and encouragement from someone, give it to them.
#2 You must be a good friend to have a good friend. Similar to number one, you must listen to your friends if you want them to listen to you. Want them to help you move? Be prepared to get your butt up when it’s cold and you may not feel like it to do the same.
#3 Don’t use other peoples bad treatment, behavior, nasty deeds, attitude, etc. towards you as an excuse to behave badly in return. Your actions define you, NOT your reactions.
#4 Don’t spend more on material goods than you have double of in the bank. For instance, if you really want those $200 sneakers and you worked hard for that money, buy them, but have at least $400 in your bank account when you do.
#5 Don’t be a liar. No one likes a liar. Honesty is tied to integrity and respect. It is something no one can take from you no matter how hard or crappy life gets and an honest person is respected through all types of mistakes or bad situations.
#6 Work hard and be the best you can be. Laziness hurts you, it keeps you from achieving what you want and earning what you want, monetarily and in every other aspect of life.
#7 Smiles and momentary excitement can be bought, true love and affection cannot.
#8 Always stay a “Momma’s boy” to some degree. I will always be here for you, there’s nothing that you could do that would make me stop loving you, even if it makes me not like you.
#9 You can always start over if something fails or falls through. Every morning really is the first day of the rest of your life and you should try different things to find what makes you happy. You haven’t failed if your job makes you miserable, only if you stay that way.
#10 You are responsible for your own happiness. This is something I wish I had learned at a much younger age. It is not my job as a parent to make sure all your days are filled with smiles and happiness, nor is it your future partner’s, child’s, or anyone else’s. Find what makes you happy and do it, or find happiness in things you have or can do on your own. Never rely on someone else for your happiness.