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By Kimara - Posted on 22 July 2008

       In my on going, and usually monumentally unsuccessful, attempt at getting organize, I was sorting through an archaic stack when I came upon an old steno notebook that I had been writing in back when my children were in elementary school. I remember at the time I had decided to jot down the wit and wisdoms I had taught my children. These weren't rules written on a board somewhere, but the casual lessons taught on an on going basis. Some might seem self evident…but one thing I learned very early on in parenting was…ASSUME NOTHING! The following is a list that I threw together that evening. Now, I find the list to be both amusing and nostalgic. Although not exhaustive, and there were certainly more things added to the list as the children got older, these got them through the first decade of their life! These were written in no particular order...just as they popped into my head!


1.            Spend some part of every day outside.


2.            Don’t watch television on school days.


3.            Do your homework before you go to bed.


4.            Don’t swear.


5.            Don’t tell dirty jokes.


6.            Keep change in your pockets at Christmas to throw in the Salvation Army Buckets.


7.            Make a point of reading biographies.


8.            Never share an important secret with someone who says, “You can trust me.”


9.            Smile a lot!


10.        Ask the new kid at school to eat lunch with you and your friends.


11.        Don’t tattle.


12.        Wear a helmet when you bike on the road.


13.        Don’t be a show off.


14.        Call your grandmother, often.


15.        Use most of your allowance to buy things for other people.


16.        Learn to type.


17.        Never be the first in your bus line.


18.        Cry if it hurts.


19.        Never talk badly about anyone.


20.        Never buy your teachers perfume or a coffee mug.


21.        Have your teacher over for lunch or dinner at least once during the school year. (After I started teaching, I revised this to NEVER invite your teacher over for lunch or dinner. If you really like them give them a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant so they can have a leisurely dinner themselves.)


22.        Never talk to strangers.


23.        Never go near parked cars.


24.        Be alone in your room, not on the street.


25.        Stop, look and listen before you cross the street.


26.        Never flush anything except toilet paper and your body’s waste.


27.        Go for comfort over style.


28.        Keep your ears clean.


29.        Never let a romantic interest come between friends.


30.        Don’t lie.


31.        It’s okay to color outside the lines.


32.        Learn to shot marbles.


33.        Learn to play an instrument, well.


34.        Learn to appreciate your parent’s music.


35.        If your neighbors can hear your music when the doors and windows are shut, it’s too loud!


36.        Assume nothing.


37.        Don’t be quick to judge.


38.        Hear people out.


39.        Unzip your pants before you try to put them on.


40.        Leave the toilet seat down.


41.        Don’t be sarcastic.


42.        Never use the expression, “But everyone else is”, in an argument with your parents.


43.        Believe in Santa Claus.


44.        Only ask Santa for 1 gift.


45.        Get a pen pal.


46.        Pray.


47.        Get a magazine subscription, and then read it cover to cover.


48.        Learn to bake something that doesn’t come out of a box.


49.        Read The Giving Tree.


50.        Don’t pick your nose in public.


51.        Every once in a while, tell your siblings you love them.


52.        Don’t start smoking.


53.        Ask your parents and grandparents to tell you stories about their childhood.


54.        Never stick anything metal in a toaster.


55.        After a shower or bath, dry off with a towel before putting on your clothes.


56.        Cover your mouth when you sneeze.


57.        Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.


58.        Flush


59.        Share your lunch with someone who forgot theirs.


60.        Feed your pets.


61.        Don’t put dirty socks and underwear on a clean body.


62.        Change your socks and underwear daily.


63.        Don’t watch anything on television or at the movies you would feel embarrassed watching with God.


64.        Don’t abuse your phone privileges.


65.        Never make your parents breakfast in bed. (Disastrous memories surface!)


66.        Occasionally, clean something without being told to.


67.        Don’t forget your prayers.


68.        Never take drugs.


69.        Never Take Drugs.


70.        NEVER TAKE DRUGS.


71.        Memorize your locker combination.


72.        Don’t throw ice balls.


73.        Never cancel plans to wait for a phone call.


74.        Don’t change your plans with someone because something better came up.


75.        Be courteous to adults.


76.        Get to know your friends’ parents.


77.        Don’t be rude.


78.        Be curious. Question everything.


79.        Always accept sincere apologies.


80.        Don’t wear socks with holes in them.


81.        Mend holes in socks.


82.        Find something good in everyone.


83.        There are many things in this world worth fighting for. Choose your battles wisely.


84.        Remind your parents to recycle. It’s your future they’re protecting.


85.        Recycle and reuse.


86.        Don’t be wasteful.


87.        Set good examples for your parents.


88.        Learn to dance.


89.        Learn the difference between “I need” and “I want”.


90.        Learn to control your wants.


91.        Don’t ask your parents to buy you something you wouldn’t be willing to spend your own money on.


92.        Read something out loud daily.


93.        Never take food for granted.


94.        Never take your home for granted.


95.        Never take your education for granted.


96.        Never take your parents for granted.


97.        Never take your country for granted.


98.        Always sing the National Anthem even if you can’t hit the high notes.


99.        Stand at attention and cover your heart for the Pledge Allegiance.


100.    Have fun!


101.    Memorize poems you love.


102.    Keep hope in your heart.


103.    Dare to dream for more than you thing possible, then make it happen.


104.    Never run with scissors.


105.    Don’t put your tongue on cold metal.


106.    No matter how bad your day was, home will make it better.


107.    Lie on your back, look up at the stars, and feel the earth turn.


108.    Brush your teeth twice a day or three times a day if you ate something disgusting.


109.    Use toothpaste on your toothbrush.


110.    Brush for at least 2 minutes.


111.    Acknowledge who you are when you make phone calls. Don’t assume everyone knows your voice.


112.    If you take a message, give a message.


113.    Never ease drop on another phone.


114.    Return library books on time.


115.    Return things you borrow in the same condition or better.


116.    Only loan things that you’re willing to never see again.


117.    Never use rubber cement to glue anything to your body. (A lesson my youngest and I learned the hard way.)


118.    Have friends of the opposite sex.


119.    Tell your parents everything another adult tells you not to tell your parents.


120.    Make your bed daily.


121.    Turn your socks right side out before throwing them into the laundry.


122.    When given the chance, sleep in.


123.    Every once in a while, get up before everyone else and enjoy the quiet of the morning.


124.    Take some time everyday to be alone with your thoughts.


125.    Never call 900 numbers.


126.    You don’t have to like all foods, but be adventurous enough to try everything at least once.


127.    Ask for help when you need it.


128.    Don’t ask for help if you can do it yourself.


129.    Offer to help when you can.


130.    Don’t write anything in a note that you’re not willing to have the whole school know about it.


131.    Be generous with your hugs.


132.    Stick up for those who can’t defend themselves.


133.    Use public restrooms only when you absolutely have to. (Personal repulsion!)


134.    Never tell someone they deserved what they got, even if they did.


135.    Use eating utensils in public.


136.    When in doubt, talk to your parents.


137.    Find out when your teacher’s birthday is and do something nice for him or her.


138.    Learn all three verses to Silent Night.


139.    Don’t litter.


140.    When possible, pick up litter and throw it away.


141.    Take the advice of your parents over your peers.


142.    Grow up but not away from your family.


143.    Use deodorant if you need it.


144.    Don’t squeeze pimples.


145.    If you’re doing something you don’t want your parents to find out about, chances are you shouldn’t be doing it.


146.    Learn to see the insides of people, not just the outsides.


147.    There’s no shame in failure if you tried your best.


148.    Laugh a lot!


149.    Learn to be a good listener.


150.    Don’t say anything about someone you wouldn’t say in front of them.


151.    Never get in a car with someone who’s been drinking.


152.    Apply Vaseline to your eyebrows before blowing record breaking bubbles.


153.    Don’t be in a hurry to grow up.


154.    When filling a bathtub, you need to account for body mass.


155.    Abhor violence.


156.    On very hot days, lick your ice cream cones quickly.


157.    Learn the difference between sympathy and empathy.


158.    Be empathetic.


159.    Eventually, your mother will look under your bed.


160.    Be honest.


161.    Don’t cheat.


162.    Learn some really funny clean jokes.


163.    Throw up in toilets.


164.    Hold hands in a crowd.


165.    When you’re out in a crowd, always have a place to meet in case you get separated.


166.    Remember where your mom parks the car at the mall.



            Reading over these I realize how many things I had left out, and in all actuality, how little things have changed over the years. Oh, sure, today there are more video games and the internet. There are now cell phones and GPS. As a parent we have to prepare our children for an ever changing world. But all in all, kids are kids, and words of wisdom like, “Don’t stick anything up your nose!” are as true today as ever!


If you have children, what are some of the special things you’ve taught your children? If you’re not a parent, what are some of the most interesting things you felt your parents taught you?



On no account should you entertain being a victim of your own circumstances. When unexpected failure occurs, you can turn it into success. - Dennis Wong YOR Health

I think the thing I heard my mom say more than anything else was to have a back up plan. When you think about it this covered a whole range of things. When going to the mall my mom would say, What's your backup plan if you get seperated from your friends? When going to a party my mom would say, What's your backup plan if your date starts drinking and can't drive you home? This applied to applying for jobs, my choice of college majors, and just about everything. I remember when I was in middle school I wanted to get my haircut in this weird, off balanced sort of cut. My mom asked What's your backup plan if you hate the way it looks? I thought about it and dicided I could get it recut into this pixey kind of thing. Sure enough, my first haircut looked awful! I looked at the stylist and said, Okay, backup plan. I got it recut and I loved it. Maybe it's a little boy scoutish, but til this day I always have a backup plan. Thanks Mom!

Just wanted to add my 'favorite' lesson that I specifically had to work on teaching my DS (as in I had to repeat it frequently)... 'Don't Bite the Dog!' ;)

What I find interesting about your list (beyond the time it must have taken to type it!) is how basic so many of the things are, but yet, these things are not basic to kids. They don't know any of these things until they learn them. Either through us telling them, or them observing the people around them, or by learning it for themselves through experience. It's amazing to think about the amount of learning that goes on every day, even when it appears that absolutely nothing is going on!

I wish I could blame the whole rubber cement debacle on my youngest son...he has a long list of physical mishaps...what's one more. But sadly, nope, this one was my fault! For Halloween one year he picked out a devil's costume, including suction cup horns that were suppose to stick to his forehead. They kept popping off, so I got this scathingly brilliant idea to use rubber cement to glue them to his head. In my defense, I'd used rubber cement for years on projects. I liked the way it came off surfaces so easily by simply rubbing lightly and it never bothered my hands. So I dabbed rubber cement on the horns and suck them on his forehead. It actually seemed to be working when all of a sudden he started screaming, "Get them off, get them off, they're burning me." They came off easily, but so did a ring of skin! We flushed his forehead with cold water but the damage was already done. It took several weeks for the circles on his forehead to heal. We both learned 2 very valuable lessons that day. First, don't use rubber cement to glue anything to your body, and second, if you dress up like the devil, expect to get burned!

I'm sure your list is a fraction of the things you taught your children. Sometimes when I get to the end of the day I think of how many things I told my children that day. I have my do days and my don't days. I hate the days when I'm always telling my kids not to do things. Don't play in the street, don't pull your sister's hair, don't spit your food back out on the plate. I'm much happier with my do days. Hold my hand in parking lots, put the cap back on the toothpaste or always kiss mommy goodnight. Attitude, I suppose. And dare I ask, what was your son trying to glue to his body with rubber cement ;)