37 Lessons for my Sons (or Daughters)

My list of life lessons I want to teach my children.  

1. Don’t let a day go by without doing something for someone else.  It’s as easy as holding the door for someone.  It makes them happy and makes you happy too.

2. When you’re in your twenties – you’re still learning and growing.  You’ll understand in your 30’s.

3. Invite the new kid to sit with you on the bus or eat with you at lunch.

4. Be creative!  You grew up with a mom wielding a glue gun and a dad who constructed Lego creations and drew you pictures.

5. Be passionate about your job.  You don’t have to keep the same one the rest of your life, but like what you do.

6. We all have to do the grunt work sometimes.  It doesn’t matter how educated you are or how much money you have.

7. Be active in your own life.  Don’t let it pass you by.

8. Dumb actions early in life can alter your ability to get the job you’d like in the future.

9. Go on vacation with your family at least once a year.  Families need to learn how to vacation with one another.

10. Always send thank you notes (that you’ve written).

11. Live without debt.  Money problems ruin marriages, friendships, and jobs.

12. Treat the waitress with respect.

13. Do not settle for a spouse.  Wait.  God has just the right one for you and we’ve been praying for her.

14. Sex is great – just save it for the one you love!

15. Depression is hard to handle.  If you struggle with it, learn how to deal with it and get help.

16. Having a relationship with God is important.  One way to continue to grow and learn is by being active in your church.

17. Laugh!  It’s the best stress reliever.

18. Understanding The Five Love Languages is a simple way to have a healthy relationship with your spouse.

19. Be mindful of what you watch on TV or the internet.  Too much of a bad thing is bad.

20. Everyone needs to have boundaries in their relationships.  It’s too easy to get pulled in every direction.

21. You don’t need alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes to have a good time.

22. The best thing you can do for your children is to love your spouse. (from Gram)

23. No fish handshakes!  Have a firm handshake, it shows your confidence. (from Grandad)

24. Work Hard, Play Hard. (advice given to your aunt when she graduated from high school)

25. Be careful about engaging in emotional relationships with women who are not your wife.

26. Give back to your community.  While you’re doing good for others, it really does the most for you!

27. Try to use your time wisely.  Too much free time is not productive.

28. Life, love, and relationships are not like the movies.  Neither is sex.

29. Lending someone money can ruin a perfectly good relationship and your bank account.

30. This will go against our “give it your best all the time” talk – give 90% at work and save 10% for home.  Your family deserves some of your best too.

31. Wear Sunscreen.  Trust me.

32. Remember compliments you receive.  Forget the insults.

33. Using good manners and being respectful can help you land your dream job.

34. You’ve been given some great gifts and talents.  Find time to nurture them.

35. Mental health days are good for the soul.

36.  Choose a spouse that is also your best friend.  That will make you happiest in the end.

37. Call your mom.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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