These won’t get teens into college, but will make them better people
1. Write a letter. An actual letter that does not begin with “Hey” and is written, in handwriting, on real paper.
2. Learn to cook a good meal that can feed the entire family, no matter what size family you have. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the average American household has 2.58 people. One nice chicken roasted on a bed of vegetables might even provide leftovers.
3. Hold down an unpleasant job that makes you hate your parents a little bit because they won’t let you quit. When I was your age, I worked as an intern on Capitol Hill and on an assembly line in a Westvaco paper-box factory. Guess which job taught me more about life. (Although I did find myself alone in the hall one afternoon with Senator Sam Nunn and he actually said hi to me, which was superthrilling.)
4. Go somewhere for the weekend without your phone, just so you know what it feels like to be in solitary confinement, or dying.
5. Every time you get a new toy or gadget, give an old toy or gadget away to someone who doesn’t get new things as often as you do.
6. Take care of someone or something other than yourself. A pet does nicely here. And if it’s a dog, learn to brush the dog far enough away from the back door that the hair does not all come whooshing back in when you are finished. Yes, I speak from experience.
7. Write a heartfelt thank-you note to someone over the age of 70. Even if this person hasn’t given you a holiday or birthday present, find something to thank them for.
8. Read a book for pleasure. If you start one and still hate it on page 50, find another one. Repeat as needed until you find a book you really love.
9. Do something nice for a neighbor without expecting any credit for it. Rake the leaves, shovel the walk, put the newspaper on the front step if it landed in the middle of the driveway. Keep your identity here secret.
10. Don’t race to the top. Never race to the top. If you want to aim for the top, good for you. But try to get there slowly, deliberately, without knocking everyone else out of the way. Or missing the beautiful view.
I love this list whether it is reality or not. 🙂 There are words of wisdom here that all young people, and some not so young, need to learn. Number one is near and dear to me. I am a wordsmith and take great pride in being able to form intelligent complete sentences to relay my thought about all the issues I care about. I know I am going to sound like an old person here but tweeting and such is ruining the written word for too many of the latest generations. They need to sit down and write a letter once in a while. No, fifty truncated words doesn’t make a letter.
I guess home economics is probably a thing of the past in today’s schools. In my day it was pretty much restricted to one gender. If a guy ever took the class he would be forever labeled. I learned to cook when my mom left us for greener pastures. Better quit here as this post is beyond my self-imposed length already… (Ok, I know this kind of contradicts #1 but get used to irony in your life maybe should be #11)