A friend recently told me about her high school principal and two key pieces of advice she imparted to the graduating class:
- Always maintain your own bank account.
- Have a filing cabinet.
It did get me thinking about the good and bad advice I have been given (such as when my mother told me to say “I’ll think about it” to any and all proposals of marriage) and what I would like to share with my children. I decided to start a list.
My list does not cover great big moral issues – that is what I am trying to get through to them on a day-to-day basis. My list consists of a bunch of random things (that I think I know) that I want to make sure I cover with my daughters at some point. Here is my list so far:
- Listen to music as often as you can.
- Do not ever, under any circumstances, try to take Spanx off over your head.
- Do not buy shoes that hurt you no matter how much you love them.
- Do not stay with a partner that hurts you, no matter how much you love them.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously.
- Whatever job you have, be it cleaning toilets or running a country, do it to the very best of your ability every single day.
- Learn to drive as soon as possible.
- Sit up straight!
- Vote. Even if your side is ‘guaranteed’ to win. Or lose.
- Say ‘no’ when ‘no’ is what you want to say.
- Skip the tattoos.
- Or don’t. But don’t get a dolphin or anyone’s name. Or anything on your neck or chest.
- Do not put olive pits in the garbage disposal – they are nature’s bullets.
- Mind your own manners but let other people worry about theirs.
- Use your manners to make people feel comfortable not inferior.
- Learn to cook.
- Don’t eat and walk. Or drive.
- Actively contribute to your friends’ success – show up to the book launch, re-Tweet that Tweet, run the charity run, help make a connection, whatever is needed.
- Always RSVP in a timely manner.
- Be a great tipper. Especially for breakfast.
- Do not buy gossip magazines.*
- Say ‘thank you’ (and mean it) to everyone who helps you in even the smallest way.
- Don’t jay walk.
- If someone tells you that they are a jerk, you should believe them.
- Do not go to work or school when you are sick. People will not be awed by your heroics.
- Don’t make assumptions about people based on anything other than what they actually say or do.
- Just because everyone believes something doesn’t make it true. Think for yourself.
- Send thank you notes (or emails) whenever there is a reason.
- Floss. Every day.
- Eat breakfast.
- Don’t waste your time on pastries that aren’t fantastic. If you bite into a disappointing croissant, leave it.
- Only butter is butter. There are no substitutes.
- Save or invest 10% of your income.
- Keep a mini pack of tissues, and a wet wipe or two in your car and purse.
- Negotiate your employment terms. Always. Don’t just accept the first offer.
- Always ask for a better deal – more often than not, you will get one.
- Never buy peaches or corn out of season.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat.
- Open all crinkly candy wrappers BEFORE the movie starts.
- Do not take your phone out at dinner.
- Do not text and drive. You can park and text.
- Say ‘yes’ when someone asks you to dance (unless you hate them).
- If you aren’t sure what to get at a restaurant, order the Special.
- Be brave but not stupid.
- Stay informed.
- Stick up for other women.
- Less is more when it comes to make up and eyebrow plucking.
- Don’t participate in phone surveys.
- Never buy any clothing unless you love it. Even a white t-shirt. Or a too-good-to-be-true sale thing. You have to love it!!**
* Read them for free at the hairdresser.
**Courtesy of my step-mother who follows this excellent advice much more consistently than I do.
This is just a starter list. There are so many little things that I’d love for my girls to learn the easy way.
What else should be on here? Please share your thoughts!