Most parents believe graduation is their last opportunity to impart good advice or words of wisdom to their graduate. I made a list for my high school senior based on what I believe leads to a happy life.
Take some time after your child’s graduation to discuss the important stuff. Talk over this list and add ones that are relevant to your family. You might be surprised that “Solve world hunger” ranks higher on their list than “Play more video games.”
My advice for the Class of 2012:
- Say thank you to waiters, waitresses, housekeepers, and hostesses. Always tip in cash at least 17 percent. Their job is demanding. You never know — that could be you.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Laugh out loud. Laugh often.
- Take lots of pictures and get them developed. You will never regret this. People love looking at photo albums. “A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lives on forever.” Unknown
- Eat healthy food and exercise. That’s all you will ever need to know about staying fit.
- Never text and drive. “It takes an average of . If you’re driving 55 miles per hour, you’ll cover 100 yards in that time span.” - David Mills, Patch
- Don’t put anything on Facebook, Twitter, email or any social media that you wouldn’t want your grandma to read. “Don’t air your dirty laundry.” – Grandma Judy
- Embrace failure. We learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Thomas Edison failed 111,009 times trying to invent the light bulb. Kathryn Stockett received 60 rejections for The Help.
- Being lucky is hard work. Oprah Winfrey said, “I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” Go the extra mile. Reach for the stars. Don’t be satisfied with good enough. Look outside the box. Be a rule breaker.
- Open a bank account. Save money. The sooner you start, the better off you will be. Don’t get a credit card unless you can pay back in full each month.
- Ask questions. What’s the worst that could happen? “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” — Chinese Proverb
- Do not serve brussel sprouts to company. Everybody hates them.
Just think graduates; only eleven pointers and you’re on your way to live a life filled with great adventure and new beginnings. And in five more years, your parents will seem smarter than you thought. Don’t forget that no matter how much things may change, your values will always define you.