I’ve known my friend David Sample for more years than I’d care to count, (think: attended my wedding; suffered through my first attempts at cooking and is still friends with me…) and since the beginning, I was sure be would be a fantastic father. Time has proven me right. Not only does he do the standard stuff with his three kids, like build Pinewood Derby cars and act as timer for a swim meet, he is also very thoughtful about his parenting. Here is his list of 60 items he’d like to tell his kids, and perhaps you’d like to share with yours:
Life advice for my kids, by David Sample
1. Live close to work if you can, even if you need to have a much smaller house/apartment.
2. If you spend your life comparing yourself to other people you will always be unhappy. There is always someone that is smarter, better looking, richer, etc…
3. Don’t wear loafers with a suit.
4. Learn how to dance.
5. If you meet someone with a funny name, don’t make a joke about it. The person has already heard them all.
6. Try not to get mad at asshole drivers. It isn’t worth the energy.
7. Openly acknowledge awkward moments. It makes them a little less awkward. (Dan Savage)
8. Don’t gossip. At some point, it will come back to bite you.
9. When you go on a date, turn off your phone and put it away.
10. The human tendency is for expenditures to rise to meet income (and often exceed it). Plan with this in mind. (corollary of Murphy’s Law)
11. A properly knotted tie has a dimple where the tie comes out of the knot.
12. Take a driving class.
13. If you are physically attractive, remember to be a solid chocolate bunny: attractive on the outside and the inside. Hollow chocolate bunnies are lame. (Felicia Day)
14. Unless you enjoy the arguing, don’t talk politics. You aren’t going to change their mind, and they aren’t going to change yours.
15. “If it sounds good, it IS good.” – Duke Ellington. Listen to the music that you like and don’t worry about what other people think is cool or lame.
16. Just because someone asks you a question, does not mean that you have to answer it.
17. When driving, leave the other guy a way out, and try to use the two-second rule.
18. A tattoo does not make you unique.
19. Just because something is currently “in style” does not mean that it looks good on you.
20. Learn how to tell a funny story if you can.
21. Pride commeth before the fall. Stay humble. (Bible)
22. Take the time to carefully proofread before you turn in your work.
23. When you are planning your wedding, if you can, allow parents to bring their kids, allow single people to bring a guest, and have an open bar. People are more important than decorations (but not more important than the dress).
24. If you need to precede what you are saying with “no offense,” you probably shouldn’t say it.
25. Create new family traditions and continue the old ones that you like.
26. Don’t let yourself be “friend-zoned.” Express your desires early. If the response isn’t the one you want, move on.
27. Weddings are about the bride. The groom is a prop.
28. Choose a career in which you can find ethical expression.
29. Remember to honestly compliment people when you can. We hear about our faults too often.
30. Call your parents.
31. There is no such thing as “f” buddies. One of the people always wants more.
32. If you don’t know where to start, talk to someone who knows about it. If you don’t know anyone, there is probably a good book about it.
33. Don’t ask someone out via text message. Do it over the phone or in person. Always break up in person.
34. Hard work is almost always rewarded.
35. A vehicle is a tool, not a fashion statement. Spend accordingly.
36. If you are a “spender,” marry a “saver,” and let the “saver” handle the money.
37. If you are a “saver” and your spouse is a “spender,” put your spouse on an allowance.
38. A task will expand to fit the time allotted for it. Plan accordingly. (A corollary of Murphy’s Law)
39. Couples fight most often about money or sex. Keep this in mind when you are selecting a spouse.
40. Keep secrets.
41. Before you judge someone, remember that each of us thinks that anyone that drives faster than us is crazy and anyone that drives slower than us is an idiot. We can’t all be right. (George Carlin)
42. For men: when buying dress socks, buy the ones that come up to your knees. We don’t need to see your hairy shins when you sit down.
43. Start reading to your kids early, and don’t stop.
44. Floss daily.
45. Most women I know don’t mind receiving flowers, having the door opened for them, and having the man pay for dinner (notwithstanding our advances in feminism).
46. If you find yourself saying “those people,” “them” or “they” in reference to a particular group, the next thing out of your mouth will probably be bigoted.
47. Before you go out on a date, spend some time thinking about things to talk about.
48. In my opinion, a man needs no more jewelry for day to day living than a nice watch, and a wedding ring (if appropriate). For dress-up, add cuff-links – that’s it.
49. Don’t have sex until you can maturely and honestly talk to your partner about STD’s and birth control and you can buy condoms without blushing. (Salt-n-Peppa)
50. Wrap it up every time.
51. Puns get a bad rap. A good one will make most people laugh or at least smile and groan.
52. Bust your ass your freshman year of college learning how to be a good student. There will be plenty of time later to goof off.
53. When you ask someone out on a date, ask them out for a specific day and time and to do a specific thing. If the response is “I am busy,” ask again. If you get three I-am-busies, stop asking.
54. You will regret failing to try more than you will regret trying and failing.
55. Comb-overs are lame. Embrace your baldness.
56. In a marriage, apologize early and often.
57. Remember that the news is selling something, and that death and blood sell. The state of the world is not as bad as they say it is.
58. Date someone at least two years before marrying them – it’s a dopamine thing.
59. Remember that correlation does not equal causation.
60. Opinions (like everything in this list) are like assholes – everyone has one, and most of them stink. So, don’t get too worked up when someone expresses an opinion that you disagree with.