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A Father's Instructions for Life

Condensed from 'Life's Little Instruction Book" H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

This was submitted to Siliconhell - there are some excellent points in here and it had to be posted on the site for others to share the wisdom.


Years ago, I read that it was the responsibility of parents not to pave the road for their children, but to provide a road map. So, as my son, Adam, prepared to leave for college, I jotted down a few words of counsel and put them in a dime-store binder. After his mother and I had helped him move into his dorm, I presented him with the bound pages.

A few days later, Adam called me. "Dad," he said, the book is one of the best gifts I've ever received. I'm going to add to it and someday give it to my son." Every once in a while life hands you a moment so precious, so overwhelming, that you almost glow. I had just experienced one.

Here are the words I gave him.

Admit your mistakes.

Be bold and courageous.

Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.

Be willing to lose a battle in order to win the war.

Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.

Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards.

Call your mother.

Choose a charity in your community and support it generously with your time and money.

Compliment three people each day.

Don't be afraid to say "I don't know."

Don't be afraid to say "I'm sorry."

Don't discuss business in elevators. You never know who may overhear you.

Don't expect life to be fair.

Don't gossip. Keep secrets.

Don't procrastinate. Do what needs doing when it needs to be done.

Don't spread yourself too thin. Learn to say no politely and quickly.

Forget committees. New, noble, world-changing ideas always come from one person working alone.

Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on his deathbed, "Gee, if I'd only spent more time at the office."

Give yourself a year and read the Bible cover to cover.

Have good posture.

Enter a room with purpose and confidence.

Instead of using the word problem, try substituting the word opportunity.

Learn to listen. Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly.

Look people in the eye.

Make a list of 25 things you want to experience before you die. Carry it in your wallet and refer to it often.

Make new friends but cherish the old ones.

Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all he or she has.

Never pay for work before it's completed.

Never take action when you're angry.

Never underestimate the power of forgiveness.

Never walk out on a quarrel with your wife.

Overtip breakfast waitresses.

Pray not for things, but for wisdom and courage.

Regarding furniture and clothes: if you think you'll be using them five years or longer, buy the best you can afford.

Say "please" and "thank you" a lot.

Street musicians are a treasure. Stop for a moment and listen; then leave a small donation.

Treat everyone you meet as you want to be treated.

Use credit cards only for convenience, never for credit.

Never cheat.

Watch a sunrise at least once a year:

When faced with a serious health problem, get at least three medical opinions.

When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things, you didn't do more than the ones you did.


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