Sunday, June 11, 2017

Graduation season

"I always pass along good advice. It is the only thing to do with it, since it is never of any use to oneself." ~ Oscar Wilde
Cindy La Ferle

Back in the day before we all blogged, Tweeted, and posted our lives on Facebook, I was a weekly family columnist for our local paper. In those days, I wrote about the joys and worries of parenting, and documented personal milestones along the way. In honor of graduation season, today I'm sharing a Sunday column I wrote for my son in 2004. It's also included in my book, Writing Home.

A Survival Guide for Grads
The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) 
May 16, 2004

It’s graduation season. In keeping with tradition, proud parents, mentors and elected officials will pass along words of wisdom and advice to students who’ll be starting college or launching new careers. To all our local graduates of 2004, I send my very best wishes for your future. Meanwhile, here’s a peek at the survival tips I’ll be packing in my son’s suitcase when he leaves for college this fall.

*Relationships, like cars, need regular upkeep. Maintain the good friendships you’ve made.

*Learn from your adversaries. The people who push our buttons tend to reflect qualities we dislike in ourselves.

*Dress appropriately for every occasion. Dress out of respect for yourself as well as for those hosting the event you're attending.

*Encourage others to talk about themselves. You’ll make a great first impression and learn something new.

*If you settle for less, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

*Don’t be too proud to ask for help when you need it.

*The notion that everyone is having a better time somewhere else is one of the world’s dumbest illusions. Refuse to believe it.

*Losing is a great character builder. If your best effort misses the mark, ask yourself what you can learn from the loss.

*Choose a career you can be proud to list on every form you’ll have to fill out.

*Be a community builder. If we can’t make peace with our neighbors, there’s no hope for the rest of the world.

*It can be lonely at the top. Be careful not to alienate loved ones while achieving your goals.

*Be thoughtful. Good manners were designed to make others feel comfortable and respected. 
*Strive for decency and accept nothing less from everyone you hang out with.

*Get enough sleep.  

*Make good on your word. Show up on time. If you promised to bring the dessert or move furniture, follow through.

*Keep your faith, but learn about the great religions of the world. Never publicly criticize someone’s religious beliefs. Self-righteousness is a huge turn-off.

*Stay in shape; enjoy a recreational sport.    

*Spend time alone. Creative ideas and solutions are sparked in solitude.

*Never leave your underwear on the floor. As every good room mate will tell you, neatness is essential in cramped spaces.

*Don’t wait for holidays to tell people how much you appreciate them.

*Read for pleasure.

*Always take the high road. Admit your blunders and apologize if you’ve hurt someone.

*Return what you borrow. 

*If you can't take care of something you own, dispose of it properly or give it to someone who'll appreciate it. 

*Go easy on the junk food. Pay attention to what you eat, where it came from, and why you’re eating it.

*Find your inner compass and stop seeking approval from others. Be too busy to wonder what other people think of you.

*Spend time outdoors. A walk in the woods is the best antidepressant.

*Never buy an expensive item on impulse. Wait at least a day to ensure you really need it and can afford to pay for it.

*Splurge on comfortable shoes.

*Don’t limit your shopping to chain stores. Support local businesses and discover the heart and soul of every new location. 

*Travel is the best way to learn about the world, but stay on the lookout for a place to set down roots.

*Obey the speed limit and use turn signals. Steer clear of road rage.

*Savor your memories but don’t live in the past. Anyone who insists their high school or college years were “the best” is stuck in a rut. Life gets richer and juicier as you move on. Enjoy every minute.

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