As a parent, it’s my goal to train, encourage, listen, observe, guide and discipline. Clearly parenting isn’t just about these things, but that’s the basics. As I have been on this journey and what I have learned from other parents who I respect, there are several “rules”, or as I like to call them, truths, that this kid needs to have as part of his foundation. This is just the start to the list. I know I will add more. I know that as we grow and evolve, as a family, things will need to be added or shifted, and I am ok with that.
Truth #1—Be nice to EVERYONE! You NEVER know whom you are in the presence of! Just be nice—even when they aren’t nice to you! They may not be nice to you because you are Ethiopian-American. They may not be nice to you because you are awesome. They may not be nice to you for a number of options or reasons. That’s ok—still be nice. They won’t know what to do with your niceness. *This doesn’t mean you are a doormat and allow people to walk all over you.
Truth #2—Your penis should be used for good and NOT evil! Obviously, I will expand upon this when you’re a wee (no pun intended) older.
Truth #3—There is such a thing as skank! Love her because God loves her, but don’t date her, sleep with her or marry her.
Truth #4—Jumping off a roof into a swimming pool is just strait unwise—don’t be stupid.
Truth #5—You WILL go to college. It can be trade school, medical school, whatever, but the “School of Hard Knocks” ain’t college!
Truth #6—Allow yourself to fall in love. It’s scary and you could get hurt, but don’t let that keep you from loving and loving someone else with all that you are!
Truth #7—It’s ok to cry, but… make it worth it. Losing the NCAA Championship—cry, Baby! Slamming your finger in the door—cry, my love! First person you ever loved dumps you for someone else—let it go and cry Konjo! Getting a “B” on a paper—um NO!!!
Truth #8—Laugh out LOUD. Continue to find life funny! Laugh every day—several times a day! Along with this—be funny. You can be funny and not be the “class clown”. People love being around someone who makes them laugh!
Truth #9—When people show you who they are—believe them. I can’t take credit for this one, but thank you Oprah for having Maya Angelou on your show when she shared this. Take it to heart. People rarely change. Allow them to be who they are, but when they show you who they are—good, bad or ugly—it’s probably the truth!!!
Truth #10—Respect people and their space. The only people we don’t respect are people who touch your penis or booty.
Truth #11—Never tattle tale unless someone is touching your penis or booty without your permission! See #9. Also, see #2 and 3. We can revisit these as you get a bit older.
Truth #12—Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy, but please remember that people have feelings. Please be honest cautiously and with care. Please also remember that not everyone lives by this rule. Just be aware of that.
Truth #13—Know the difference between compassion and feeling sorry for someone. Compassion moves you to do something about it. It inspired you to want to have mercy for them and spring into action to do something immediately. Feeling sorry just does that—you feel sorry for them.
Truth #14—Look at the bigger picture. I know that it can be tough to see past the “right now”, but just knowing that there is a bigger picture may help you.
Truth #15—There are 3 sides to every story—his side, her side, and the truth! Don’t jump to conclusions or assumptions without the whole story. Take a step back, look at #14 and then at #29!
Truth #16—There is no such thing as “woman’s work”. Knowing how to do dishes and laundry and baking and cooking and cleaning makes you AWESOME!
Truth #17—TRAVEL. Explore the world. Don’t pass up the opportunity to see how other people live, experience history, and step outside your “world”. Embrace cultures and language and food and life!!! It will truly change your life for the good.
Truth #18—Be courageous. It’s tough sometimes. There are so many things that you need courage for. Here is a quick list—asking someone out on a date, loving, climbing a mountain, going to college, driving, sky diving, trusting, asking someone to dance, giving someone a Valentine and they don’t even know your name, ordering something on a menu that you can’t pronounce the name of, and so on and so on. You can also refer to #20, 23, 16, and 27!
Truth #19—Technology is your friend, but it doesn’t replace REAL friends.
Truth #20—Not everyone will believe in your dreams, and that’s ok—keep dreaming (but you also need to have a real job at some point in your life!).
Truth #21—Celebrate yourself. Don’t do it to the point of being a jerk, but you need to be your best advocate, strongest encourager and celebrate each day.
Truth #22—Unless you can sing—just DON’T do Karaoke. Trust me.
Truth #23—Be a maverick. Don’t just follow the crowd. Be a trailblazer. Use words that aren’t “cool” just to change it up a bit. This keeps people on their toes. *It also shows them that you are not just a follower!
Truth #24—No ponytails. Believe me on this one.
Truth #25—Life is NOTHING like the movies.
Truth #27—Take responsibility. This applies to your choices and actions. Once you make a decision about something, it’s now on you to take responsibility (good or bad) for what happens next. And it’s ok to be wrong! Please see #’s 1-4, 11, 12, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26!
Truth #28—Grunting, rolling the eyes, loud/audible guffaws are NOT acceptable responses. EVER!
Truth #29—Listen. When someone speaks to you, listen to them. When someone you care about says “no” in an intimate situation, it means no. When a teacher tells you to do something (unless it’s #10 or 11), you listen to them. When a friend needs to talk, please listen. Sometimes listening could save someone’s life.
Truth #30—If someone looks like they need a hug, they probably do. If you don’t really know them, ask before you go in for one. But, for the most part, sometimes, people can use a good hug!