“…for I give you good precepts: do not forsake my teaching.” – Proverbs 4
I’m not a bible reader, or remotely religious. I ran across the above biblical quote when looking for inspiration for this post. Forget about it being sacred, I just find it funny that even thousands of years ago, dads were trying to get their kids to f**king pay attention to the wisdom of their elders. It is the premise of every family oriented sitcom, the dad dispensing hard-won advice to kids who “know better”, from Father Knows Best to The Sopranos.
I suppose every parent wishes their kids would listen more, and absorb the parental pearls of wisdom that we believe lead to some definition of success. It rarely happens. I know because, well, I can barely think of one useful thing my dad ever said to me.
My daughter is a remarkable kid. She is on the autism spectrum. There have been many times I’ve hoped to have a meaningful conversation with her, only to be stymied by her inability to focus, pay attention, and comprehend what I have to say. Some parents say advice goes in one ear and out the other. With my daughter, words go in and fall into a jumble of letters, perhaps inspiring a non-sequitur in response as the letters disintegrate into fairy dust.
But she does read, so a few months ago I began writing down a series of “good precepts,” wise and perhaps useful advice. I have some vague hope that she will someday run across this and tell me it was useful. Or maybe you, dear reader-who-is-not-my-daughter, will find these things useful.
- People will reliably disappoint you, in so many ways. But hey can also surprise you in unexpectedly great ways.
- There is more than one way to skin a cat, but none will please the cat.
- Winning is great. It isn’t everything, but it is still pretty great. Be proud, and never ashamed, of your successes.
- The people who matter will stick with you, but never take their love and support for granted. You don’t have the right to use other people because they love you.
- I try to live an honest life, but haven’t always been honest. Honesty is harder than you think. Honesty can hurt, in ways only love can heal.
I have more of these, but if you are like my daughter – or are my daughter – you probably have had enough for now.
How about you? Do you have things you want your child to know that they just won’t listen to? Share in the comments.