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Thursday, September 2, 2021

Advice for our sons


1. Having good friends is a blessing. Being a good friend is obligatory. So, become a man who is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, patient, and understanding.


2.  Females have a better sense of smell, need I say more?


3. Covering your tracks reveals a faulty character. Real men own up to their mistakes, apologize, and try to put things right.


4. Do not photograph your private parts. The picture will end up in places you cannot imagine and I promise you, you do not want to go there.


5. You are not what you eat, or what you drive or where you work. You are you. And if that is not working out for you, changing your diet or car or job will not fix the problem.


6. Clean is attractive. Thoughtful is attractive. Being blindingly drunk is a red flag, a moral failure.


7. Video games may not seem to cause you harm, but they certainly do not make you a better son, student, or friend. Play them sparingly.


8. Sleep will not solve all of your problems, but not sleeping will create new ones.


9. Make a reputable news site the home page on all your devices. You will be smarter for it.


10. Junk food is for teenagers, by the time you are twenty you will understand that your body wants real food. Give it what it needs.


11. Playing sports will make you happy and help keep you healthy. Keep games in your life, even if you aren't athletic.


12. Choosing a spouse is the most important decision you will ever make; do not let your heart ignore your head, nor vice versa.


13. If you are shopping for clothes and wondering if you are the kind of guy who can get away with a certain trendy style, then you most certainly are not.


14. Saving a few dollars on a bad haircut is something you will regret instantly.


15. Your girlfriends, the women who befriend you, love you, and will never sleep with you, will be some of the most important people in your life. Treat them beautifully.


16. Never let your siblings down, they are irreplaceable. They will be the longest friendships in your life and, one day, will be the only people who remember your childhood.


17. When you have the nagging feeling that your parents would disapprove of what you are about to do, pause, make sure you are completely sure you have answered for yourself all the questions they would ask. Then proceed, using your own judgment.


18. Your 20's are the time to discover your tolerance for risk, don’t pass up the opportunity. At the same time, don’t be foolhardy.


19. Spend the extra few dollars to buy decent shampoo. And deodorant.


20. Own one perfectly pressed white shirt and a clean tie. You never know when a job interview or your girlfriend or roommate’s parents will arrive.


21. Own lots of underwear; it will ultimately determine your laundry schedule.


22. Wait until marriage. Save this expression of self-gift for your spouse. And help your girlfriend save this gift for their future husband, too.


23. Buy or make gifts for birthdays and any other special occasion that arises. Small offerings, bought or made with care and thought, go a long way to making people feel like they are valued by you. If your budget is tiny, thoughtful notes and gifts of service are great choices, too.


24. When you get the chance, be the kind of boss, teacher, father, and friend that you had, or wish you had.


25. Finish what you start. That goes for tubes of toothpaste, expensive entrées, and commitments you have made to others and yourself.


26. You are only as good as your word, so keep it. Period.


27. Technology will not make you happy. The people it connects you with will. Do not confuse the two.


28. When a girlfriend sets out to change you, head for the hills. If she doesn’t like who you started out as, she won’t like who you end up as any better.


29. Your manners will say everything about you and will reflect on your parents every day. Don’t make them look bad.


30. Life will disappoint you. People will disappoint you. You will disappoint yourself. Your parents are available to ease those blows anytime you need to talk.


31. Piercings and visible tattoos for men will go out of style, if they haven’t already. Don’t be fooled into believing otherwise. And don't forget that future employers, employees, and clients will make judgments about you based on them. This goes for unnatural hair dye and unprofessional hairstyles, too.


32. Aspirin, water, and black coffee solve a multitude of problems. Just sayin'


33. Education is expensive, and not using it is even more expensive. Make the most of the talents you were given and the hard work you have done.


34. If your friends are jerks, you will not be far behind. Choose wisely.


35. Be nice to your parents, it will be a long time before you can afford everything on your own.

36. Answer your mother’s texts promptly, period. And don't make your father wait long either.

37. With shoes, quality always wins over quantity. The same goes for suits, dress shirts, and ties. And take good care of what you have.


38. Toothbrushes do not last forever. Neither do razors.


39. Learn to swing a golf club, cook one great dish, and ride a bike, these skills will come in handy.


40. Never use your physical size to intimidate anyone, male or female, unless it is in an organized game of sport. If you do, you have failed to live up to your potential.


41. Drugs will make you stupid, waste your money, introduce you to people you do not want to know, get you in trouble with the law, and become a habit that is very hard to break. Am I clear?


42. Smile in all photos and don’t look like a jerk; you never know where the picture will end up.


43. If you get a rash or a cut or a burn, photograph and text it. Moms diagnose, even digitally.


44. When you come back for a home cooked meal, your old bed, and laundry service, remember to bring a good attitude and a willingness to help out, too. These things are not your birthright, they are gifts.


45. Calling your parents for no special reason is always, always a good idea.


46. If you only share the good and never reveal the bad, no one will really know you.


47. Never assume anything about another person’s wealth, health, or happiness; all too often we are mistaken.


48. Put the seat down, don’t argue, just do it.


49. If you don’t use a top sheet (why, oh why?) then you have to wash the blanket or duvet cover. It is just the rules.


50. Don't be fooled, what's posted on the internet is written in ink. Remind yourself of that every time you touch a keyboard.


51. If you and your wife think you are ready for children but are not sure, get a dog or mentor someone and learn how to care for another living creature.


52. No one is ever completely ready to be a parent, it is always a bit of a leap. So, trust God and be not afraid!

53. It is best to have children within 50 miles of at least one grandparent. In parenthood, emergencies are the rule rather than the exception. Keep this in mind when the "great job offer" from across the country comes.


54. House gifts will always be remembered and appreciated so never accept a dinner invitation or weekend’s stay without a small token of gratitude.


55. Soon enough you will be in a position to help those younger than you. Offer a hand up quickly and generously - and discreetly.


56. Remember that you are a product of your upbringing and schools. Show gratitude for the teachers and institutions from which you graduated (especially if you were homeschooled!). At the same time, be respectful of others, especially those not afforded the opportunities you had. Their hard won skills and abilities are valuable. Learn from them.


57. Check your mail and email regularly! As old-fashioned as it may seem, there are some letters and emails that must be opened. Letting things pile up only creates nasty past due surprises. Grappling with paperwork is one of adulthood’s biggest but unavoidable headaches. So is filing important papers.


58. Be the kind of person others turn to with their troubles. People in pain seek out those with good hearts and those who can keep a confidence.


59. Learn to pray and lean on the Lord. You may be strong; nonetheless, there are some challenges you can’t manage on your own. Your humility will pay off in countless situations. And many will be blessed when they see a strong man become even stronger by being a man of prayer.


60. Listen to colleagues, especially women. Men usually dominate conversations and miss women’s valuable insights.


61. Ask for help when you need it, for everything from carrying awkward furniture up narrow stairs to professional endeavors. Build strong teams and be more successful. 


With thanks to Lisa Enlich Heffernan, who authored most of these.

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