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Dear Oprah, I saw this cool list of wise words (on Facebook) that an Econ teacher told to his senior high school class.  It was really clever, so I thought that I would compile my own advice for my boys as they grow.  A lot of it will not make sense for a while, so in the mean time I probably need to be reading it daily, myself.

  1. The obvious is to always say “please” and “thank-you” and ALWAYS look the thank-ee in the eye.  (This appears to be a tougher practice for them than one would think.  They should also be thanking me for not constantly reminding them when they forget.)
  2. Focus on the things you do well, and celebrate them (in your mind—the rest of us don’t really care about your mounting resume), and don’t let the stuff that doesn’t come easily stop you from trying.
  3. Be compassionate.  Those “different” little boys and girls in school have parents that love them, too, so they don’t want to be drying their tears because of someone’s cruelty–just like your mom and dad don’t.
  4. Don’t allow someone to be bullied, ever.  Call the bully out, and be prepared to throw a punch if needed.
  5. Ignore the “mouths” in your life that try to get a reaction.  It isn’t worth your good mood and neither are they.
  6. Trust your own opinion and knowledge—why should anyone else’s be more important to you than yours.
  7. Stop making excuses.  Period.  Own your flaws and your accomplishments.
  8. Don’t seek validation.  If you need it to tell you not to do something, you already know you shouldn’t, and if you need it to build yourself up, you are only getting someone else’s version of you.
  9. Collaborate, however.  There is much to be learned from working with people who have different perspectives.
  10. Play outside and get dirty.
  11. Climb a tree and get a bird’s eye view at least once.  Be careful on the way down.
  12. Befriend a random goat or horse in some roadside pasture—it’s good amusement.
  13. Learn to be flexible—both mentally and physically.
  14. Save your insults for others until you are in a different frame of mind.  You will find that what you really want to accomplish by throwing them will be easier gotten with a clear, kind and rational perspective.
  15. Try something new—like a different crayon or game.
  16. Figure out what you love.  Do it!  Do it until you have exceeded your own expectations, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s impossible no matter how tough it looks.
  17. Exceed your own expectations of yourself whether it be in patience, intellect, perseverance, kindness, generosity or even changing perspectives.  That is true success!
  18.  Don’t let anyone else set your bar—you don’t know their whole story.  Everyone has things that come easily and things that don’t and they will likely be different from yours.
  19. It is life’s contrasting moments that help you decide who you want to be, don’t beat yourself up over them or you will keep traveling the same old ground.
  20. Give everything in your little piece of the world a name—even the trees.  It’s fun!
  21. Try your hardest to be respectful of yourself.  If you truly respect yourself you will never feel compelled to disrespect others. If you know who you are, you won’t need anyone else be something they aren’t— good or bad.
  22. Jump in muddy puddles once in a while.
  23. Have a pet at some point in your life.  Learn to care for something besides yourself.
  24. Go on scavenger hunts.  There are lots of fun things to see on the way to the duck pond or the beach.
  25. Don’t be afraid to poop in a public bathroom.  I know…it’s a little scary because what if somebody hears or smells you…
  26. Believe in something larger than yourself.  It’s empowering to feel connected.
  27. Trust that the Universe has your best interests in mind, and wants to give you what you want for yourself.
  28. Remember that life is magical. Watch every day for its evidence.
  29. Make a point to celebrate rock star parking spaces—they’re awesome!
  30. Focus on appreciating all the things good in your world.  Just like when real estate appreciates, it grows in value.  So will anything you focus on—make sure it’s something you want more of.
  31. Be silly.  It’s also fun! (Except for on long drives in the car.)
  32. Do something you love to do for a living.  It’s a lot of waking hours spent doing something, if you get no enjoyment from it.  If you can’t find your passion just yet, find something about the job that entertains you so that you do it well.  It will serve you to figure out how to enjoy what you do no matter what.
  33. Take some risks—life isn’t about guarantees no matter how safe you play it.
  34. Remember how much you are loved and celebrated, and bring that to the world in your own special way.
  35.  Believe in the possibilities, and if you see things around you that you would like to be different start with your own little piece of the world.
  36. Believe in the goodness of people.  Look for the good news—you might have to dig a bit, but it’s there and there is lots of it!
  37. Listen to all types of music–it’s makes you way cooler.

(Surely, too be continued…and possibly revised)

p.s. You’re Welcome!