56 Rules For My Son

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What is some practical advice we could give our children? It is not an easy question to answer.

After all, we are all too accustomed to giving abstract advice over specific ones. We tell the next generation things they already know too well, like “work hard” or “don’t be dishonest.” They’re hardly new or specific streams of thought, but we repeat these because they are true and helpful in many cases.

But perhaps it is time to start articulating what we mean by the vague things we say. Several writers, like Aaron Conrad already stepped up to the plate to provide more specific, practical advice. Here, we list a few.

On People and Society

  1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down. (1)

  2. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look him in the eye. (1)

  3. Act like you’ve been there before. Especially in the end zone. (1)

  4. When entrusted with a secret, keep it. (1)

  5. Give credit. Take the blame. (1)

  6. Enjoy your family and friends before they are gone. (4)

  7. Be nice to humans. (3) Even ones you don’t like.

On the Playground

  1. Eat lunch with the new kid. (1)

  2. Take turns being the Red Ranger.

  3. Tag is a game of strategy, not speed.

  4. If you want the good ball, get in line early.

  5. Practice good sportsmanship.

  6. Know the playground market value of the snacks you have.

  7. Make sure others do not know the playground market value of the snacks you have.

On School and Learning

  1. Don’t peak in high school. (3)

  2. Spend a year being disappointing. (3)

  3. Apply yourself (3).

  4. You will only learn by doing, not thinking or planning. (2)

  5. Never stop learning. (3)

  6. Morning classes are always a bad idea.

  7. Starting an essay is 50% of essay-writing.

On Work and Success

  1. Learn to write an email. (5)

  2. You can start your own business at any age. (2)

  3. Challenge the known and embrace the unknown. (4)

  4. Play to win and win to play. (4)

  5. Use pithy reversals in a presentation to catch attention.

  6. Follow a budget. (5)

  7. Find a good way to manage your time. (5) Keep trying.

On Love

  1. Never be afraid to ask out the best-looking person in the room. (1)

  2. If you and your partner are not communicating well, you’re not doing it right.

  3. Trust your instincts.

  4. Forgive yourself for mistakes and past choices.

  5. Not every relationship that ends is a failure.

  6. Don’t get married too soon. (4)

  7. When you marry someone, you marry their whole family. (1)

On Life Skills

  1. Request the late check-out. (1)

  2. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas. (1)

  3. Spend less than you earn. (2)

  4. Do your research before you buy.

  5. Don’t wash your clothes too often. (5)

  6. Carry a phone charger cable at all times.

  7. Don’t fill up on bread. (1)

On Self-Exploration

  1. Experience the serenity of traveling alone. (1)

  2. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising. (1)

  3. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point. (1)

  4. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be. (1)

  5. Let yourself be broken. (4)

  6. Learn to like yourself or change yourself until you can like yourself. (4)

  7. You’re good enough. (2)

On (Saving Your Own) Life

  1. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath. (1)

  2. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it. (1)

  3. Sleep on it. Always.

  4. Familiarize yourself with free mental health and wellness sources.

  5. Be the person your dog believes you are.

  6. All you need to be happy is already within you. (2)

  7.  Never turn down a breath mint. (1)


1) Conrad, A. (2017). Rules For My Son. [online] Aaron Conrad. Available at: https://aaronconrad.com/2017/08/23/rules-for-my-son-2/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2017].

2) Babausta, L. (2017). The Best Advice You Can Give To Your Kids. [online] Lifehack. Available at: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/the-best-advice-you-can-give-your-kids.html [Accessed 11 Oct. 2017].

3) Baer, K. (2017). 10 Pieces Of Advice I Hope My Kids Won’t Ignore. [online] HuffPost. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathrine-baer/10-pieces-of-advice-i-hope-my-kids-wont-ignore_b_5840262.html [Accessed 11 Oct. 2017].

4) Kawasaki, G. (2017). Guy Kawasaki – Baccalaureate Speech. [online] Stuff.mit.edu. Available at: https://stuff.mit.edu/people/amlau/clarity/kawasaki.htm [Accessed 11 Oct. 2017].

5) Hilton, E. (2017). Advice for parents: what to teach your children before they leave for uni. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/sep/10/lessons-to-teach-children-leaving-home [Accessed 11 Oct. 2017].

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