Relax. This isn't just about mothers and sons.
With Mother's Day approaching, however, we've all been thinking about our mothers and how they've shaped and continue to shape our lives.
These lessons could just as easily apply to mothers and daughters or fathers and sons or parents and children, or anyone, really.
If they seem familiar to you, it may be because some are pieces of wisdom that are universal: these aren't ideas exclusive to any familial role, but are rather essential in helping us grow up.
I speak to them as a man who learned these things from women.
The lessons here were given to me not only by my mother, but also by other maternal figures in my life. They included friends' mothers, aunts and grandmothers, people I worked with, and various people who've taken me in over the years.
I will let them speak for themselves.
1. Use your head, but speak from your heart.
2. Give your word sparingly, but when you do, keep it.
3. At the end of each day, ask yourself, "What did I learn? What did I do today that I couldn't do yesterday? How did I make the world better?"
4. At the beginning of each day, be prepared to have an answer to at least one of the questions above by the time night falls.
5. Protect and defend those who are weaker than you.
6. Respect others.
7. Don't play with other people's feelings.
8. Stand up for what you believe in, but remember that other people have a right to their beliefs, too. Standing up for that may be the most important thing of all.
9. Comfort people who need it when you can.
10. Do what you love.
11. Kindness is most important when no one is looking and you have nothing to gain by it.
12. Reputation is what others think of you. Character is what you really are. Strive to make your character your reputation.
13. Apologize with your words first... And then your actions.
14. Be willing to forgive and be forgiven.
15. Avoid committing your anger to writing. Think twice before you hit "send."
16. When you fight with your significant other, you should be fighting to understand what they're trying to communicate. Hopefully they will do the same.
17. "Old-fashioned" manners will never be unfashionable.
18. Remember that there are plenty of people in the world. The person who chooses you is doing just that: choosing you.
19. Life is too short to be unhappy.
20. You can't control what other people do, think, or believe: Don't try.
21. Don't be afraid to hope.
22. As the Boy Scouts say: "Be prepared."
23. Learn to dance.
24. Make your bed every morning.
25. Make time for your family.
26. Pain has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Remember that when you're hurt.
27. Cultivate generosity, perseverance, and credibility.
28. No job or chore is beneath you. Do what needs to be done.
29. There's something to be learned from everyone.
30. The best things in life aren't always free, but they are always better when they're shared.
31. Be kind to animals.
32. Give people your complete attention.
33. Love with your whole heart. Live with intention.
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