10 Life Lessons I Want To Teach My Son

I always keep in mind certain lessons I want to teach my son. He is only 3 years old right now so teaching him anything is limited to things like "Don't touch the toilet and rub your eyes!!!!!" These lessons always cross my mind and I keep in mind how I would try to convey my thoughts on these topics. Here is a rough list of the things I would like to teach him one day when he is at an age he would understand. 10 (of many) Life Lessons I want to Teach My Son:

1) Work Hard
- You are smart, you come from a good family (most days), you were born in one of the greatest countries on earth, and you have an endless amount of resources available to you, BUT that doesn't mean anything unless you work hard. My mom used to say "1% idea 99% sweat!" now looking back I realized she took that quote from Thomas Edison and passed it off as her own, but that the time I thought she was a genius. No one owes you a living. You won't be thrown a bone unless you work for it. Be the kind of person that only blames yourself when you fail (you better not blame me!) but credits everyone who stood by you(Like me!) when you succeed.

2) Learn to Speak and Write Well
-One of life's greatest assets is your ability to clearly communicate what you are thinking through the spoken and written word. Read quality writing and read a lot of it. Your own level of speaking and writing will always be a bit worse than your quality of reading. When I was young my parents always took me to the library during the summer because it was free. Your mother was an avid reader as a child because she had no toys and nothing else to do and till this day she is grateful to your grandparents for being so cheap. Also, try to make every effort to learn about the world around you, current events, politics, culture, literature and art. People around you will take notice and you will attract others who do the same.

3) Surround Yourself With Good People
- My hope is that you have mentors, good friends, and those you can mentor, in your community. Be especially careful of the friends you choose. Second to your mom and dad, your friends will be the next greatest influence and for a long period of your life, they will be the greatest influence. Surround yourself with people that want to make you better in every way and accept you just as you are. Surround yourself with friends that care enough about you to be honest with you. Find friends that don't take themselves too seriously. Lastly, your dad and I worked really hard to raise you, don't surround yourself with people that will screw it up!

4) Be Wise With Money
-The world splits people into two categories: those who manage their money well and those who don't. Also known as good credit and bad credit. Those with good credit, have many opportunities available to them. They can easily get a cell phone, a mortgage for a home, a car, and the list goes on. Those who have bad  credit have the world shut to them. If you have a credit card, always pay your full balance and never ever spend more money than you have. Always keep track of your spending and save something each month unless you want to sleep on our couch for the rest of your life.

-Finally, one day a lovely girl might want to spend the rest of her life with you, but if you're broke with a lot of debt and bad credit, you'll have nothing to offer her but a hard life.

5) Treat Women with Respect
-Remember, your mother is a girl and your sister is a girl. Always treat women with respect.  This world is carried on the back of women, as you can tell from your mother, woman are amazing people, we are stronger (pain threshold wise (thats why we are the ones that give birth),  more adaptable, and as you can behind every great man there is a greater woman. When you hear other guys objectifying women, remember that.

-On a side note I have seen many guys who claim to be "godly" men. I call them "Holy Rollers" however their "faith" is a guise for self righteousness. I have seen many guys like this be verbally and physically abusive to their girl friends because they are to be "respected" and they believe they are in a position of authority in the relationship. If you see one of these guys smack them. If you turn out to be one of them I will smack  you and disown you. In the end your actions give away your true character. You can't be a godly man without first being a good one.

6) Beware of Any Kind of Addiction
-Where I grew up kids started smoking in 6th grade. One girl in particular was my friend and I watched her battle cigarette addiction for years afterwards. The deceptive thing about addiction is that it seems to make life better at first. Then after awhile, it makes life seem miserable and the addiction is the only way life becomes tolerable. Life is hard enough as it is. You don't need addiction chained around your neck.

7) No Sex until Marriage
-I'll try to keep this short so as not to traumatize you. Contrary to what the world around us says, sex means something. It's a physical act of giving yourself to someone. Sex has emotional, spiritual, and physical affects on both genders but it especially affects girls in this way. I believe that is why God intended only a man to have sex with a woman if he was committed to loving, cherishing, protecting and providing for her, for the rest of her life. Without that commitment keep your angst in your pants.

8)  Find Your Passion and Be Creative
-My math teacher in high school used to say this mantra "God, Family, then Math". After her faith and family, her passion was next. In the same way after God, Family, find your passion, something you love and can devout yourself to whole heartedly. A wise woman once said "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." No it wasn't you mother, though I was tempted to pass this one off as my own (like my mother). It was Eleanor Roosevelt. Be the kind of person that is always discussing ideas and always ask yourself "Is this making me and the world around me better?"

9) Find the Perfect Imperfect Woman for You
-I believe you can only be as great as the person you are sharing your life with. You will be making plenty of important decisions in your life but none are nearly as important as choosing who you will marry. First off narrow the pool by finding someone that shares your Faith and passions, someone who makes you feel comfortable, someone you can laugh with. Then, I would say the most important factor in finding the right woman is her character. Find someone that will put her family above her own needs. Will she always have to do this? No, but the important thing is that she would. You want to find someone that would be willing everyday, to put her needs aside for your family, from the little things to the big things. Then spend the rest of your life loving her, making her happy, and showing your gratitude. Lastly you can't find a great woman without first trying to be a great man.

10) Live in light of eternity
-Most importantly, live your life remembering that life is short and one day we will have to give account of how we spent our days. Remember you are a child of God created with a plan and purpose for your life and in every decision that you make consciously or subconsciously keep that in mind.

How much of this list is compiled based upon my success in doing these things, or learned from regret? More of the latter than I care to admit. Some of these I had to learn the hard way, some I am still learning.  Hopefully I can effectively convey these things one day in words, but my heartfelt desire to teach them by example.

[For my daughter it would mostly be a different list. This list is directed at my son and I wrote it in the way I would speak to him, which would be different in the way I would say things to my daughter. Also I make my views about certain things very clear in this list. That does not mean that I judge anyone for believing  or living differently, please keep in mind this list is a rough outline for a conversation, Lord willing, I would like to have with my son one day.]