Pearls (of wisdom) For The Sons Of Thunder
It’s graduation time around here; yet there’s a difference. We’ll be packing up and leaving within a couple of weeks.
At times, slightly emotional. But overall, the Sons of Thunder are holding up pretty well. The Little Black Dress is another matter. And no, there were no caps and gowns, but a graduation is a graduation. So what if it’s only Pre-K, Second grade and Fourth grade.
And as my father did, it’s time for one of “those letters.” Except this time I’ll be doing the writing. So here goes:
Congratulations on graduating. Your mom and I are proud of you. We’re proud of the grades you achieved (okay, No. 3 Pre-K son did not have grades), your conduct and the fact you didn’t have to go to “Stop.”
I know this is a hard time, what with the moving and leaving your friends. But indulge your dad a couple of minutes with some hard-earned knowledge.
- Stay in touch: Guys have a hard time staying in contact. Girls don’t. But some of our best friendships were made, and remain, in Alaska, thousands of miles away and years ago.
- Be loyal: Friendships may change over time, but always respect what you had. Always be there for your friends. You don’t have to agree with them, but be true to what you have.
- Choose wisely: Your friends determine how others perceive you. Your friends will end up being some of the most important people in your life. And rightly or wrongly, people will judge you based on who you hang out with. Your friends will have a greater influence on you than your mother or I.
- Be the friend: If you want great, long-lasting friendships, then be the kind of friend to others that you want to have.
- True friends: When you are facing serious troubles, your true friends will appear. You will be surprised at how many “friends” suddenly disappear when you are at your lowest. And you will be surprised what friends do show up. Cherish them and never forget.
Okay, you might think it’s a little early, but it’s time you start really understanding money. Your mom and I aren’t always going to pay for those Bionicles and Playstation games.
- Avoid debt: And avoid it like the plague. Accumulated debt becomes your master, and you do not serve money. It has a habit of turning into a snowball rolling down the hill, growing and growing. If at all possible, always pay for something upfront.
- Learn the 80/10/10 rule: Save 10 percent, give 10 percent to charity and others in need, live on 80 percent. You will rarely, if ever, have money troubles.
- Money defines you.: How you spend your money tells people more about you than just about anything. Money is not good or bad in itself. What matters is how it’s used.
- It’s all stuff. And the man with the most toys does not win in the end. You will not take it with you, make sure you need it.
- Practice the 30-day rule: When you see the latest/greatest whatever that you really, really must have, think about it. Write it down on a piece of paper. Don’t buy any other toys. If at the end of 30 days, it’s still at the top of your list, then buy it. But pay cash for it.
- Be you: God made you, you. He didn’t make you someone else, so be who you are.
- Be honest: First, and most importantly, be honest with yourself. And then be honest with others.
- Your word is your word: Your word is one of the most powerful things you possess. No one can take it from you, only you can destroy it. If you make a promise, you keep it. So be careful when pledging your word.
- Do you best: It’s the Boy Scout motto, and it’s right. There may well be others who are smarter, run faster, have more money. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you do your best in whatever you do. Be willing to “sign your name” to any and every endeavor – and know you can say, “I did my best.”
- Always learn: I don’t just mean school, but continue to read. Learn from others, whether it’s how to fix a car engine or build a nuclear reactor. Never give up your thirst for knowledge. Make it a goal in life to learn at least one new thing every day.
- Help others: And don’t expect payback. Lend a hand. And always defend those who can’t defend themselves.
- Be true: First and foremost to yourself. You know right from wrong. Don’t follow the crowd if they are wrong. Be true to yourself. Take that stand. Never waiver.
- Remember family: Good or bad, your family is your family. Look out for your brothers, and always try to get along. You may fight, but get over it. It’s important. They will always be there.
- Be Passionate: And in whatever you do. Care about what you do. Anyone can learn a skill; passion is from the heart and soul. It can’t be taught, it’s up to you.
- Never run with scissors: In other words, be careful trying something new, especially if it involves something that might get your hurt physically. Seek help from those who’ve been there, done that.
- Ask for directions: Many times you don’t know where you’re going on this path of life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and directions, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money and frustration.
- We are here: Remember that your mom and I will always be there for you. We may not be able to carry your load, but we will always walk the road with you when you need us.
- Marry someone like your mom: Just do it.