75 Things I Want to Teach My Kids

25 Jul
75 Things I Want to Teach My Kids

Growing up, there was a poster by H. Jackson Brown Jr. titled, “Life’s Little Instructions” that hung on the back of our bathroom door.  It provided great reading material to a captive audience and I always thought it was one of my mom’s better ideas.  Some of the life lessons I saw on the back of that door have stuck with me for years and I want to pass similar life lessons on to my kids, along with some other tips I’ve learned along the way from friends and family (special thanks to the Facebook responses I received).  If my kids can understand and apply half of the things on this list, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something as a parent.

  1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. (Luke 10:27a)
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27b)
  3. Keep jumper cables in your vehicle.
  4. Return the shopping cart to the corral in the parking lot when you’re finished shopping.
  5. Never go up a ladder with just one nail.
  6. Always return a borrowed vehicle with the gas tank full.
  7. Don’t tailgate trucks hauling animals.
  8. Always hold the door for the people behind you.  (and the further away they are, the more fun you have watching them hurry when they realize you’re holding the door just for them)
  9. Keep a level head.  Psalm 37:8 says, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil.”
  10. (from Pop) Don’t date anyone you wouldn’t want to marry.
  11. (and Pop’s favorite) “It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts in life.” – Coach Paul Cooley
  12. Don’t eat the yellow snow.
  13. Take along a small gift for the host when you’re a dinner guest.  A book or a pineapple is a good choice.
  14. When you give a book as a gift, write a short note in the front cover.
  15. Rewind your VHS tapes before you return them to the video store (hey, they might make a comeback).
  16. Plant a tree on your birthday.
  17. Sprite® does not taste better through your nose (ask your aunt Erica).
  18. Shake hands with a firm grip.  No one likes to hold a dead fish.
  19. Ten percent is a tithe, anything more is an offering, and they’re both commanded in scripture.
  20. Hide-a-key.
  21. Don’t buy cheap tools.  Your Pop still uses a chainsaw from 1973 for a reason.  The last one I bought worked for 2 years.
  22. Relax.  When something stressful happens, ask yourself, “will this matter in five years?”
  23. (from aunt Melissa) Act like somebody.
  24. Parking close to the door isn’t necessary and the walk will do you good.  Make one lap through the parking lot and if there’s not a space up close, just find one close to a shopping cart corral (see #4).
  25. Observe speed limits.  Speeding isn’t worth risking the danger or the ticket.  You’ll catch up to the speeders at a red light anyway.
  26. Be a good loser.  Lose without excuses.
  27. Be a good winner.  Win without boasting.
  28. Don’t let your gas tank get below a quarter of a tank.  You’ll get better gas mileage and you’ll never risk running out.
  29. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  30. Don’t flush public toilets with your hands.  Use your elbows or your feet.Titus_Flushing
  31. The mute button was added to cell phones so you could flush without making the other party on the other line uncomfortable.  Use it.
  32. Honor your father and mother.  I know it sounds self-serving, but it’s the only command in the Bible with a promise attached, and it’s a good one.
  33. Don’t accept “good enough” as good enough.  Any job worth doing is worth doing right.
  34. Don’t undertip the waiter just because the food is bad; he didn’t cook it.
  35. Use your time and your words carefully; neither can be retrieved.
  36. Don’t buy cheap toilet paper, and check for it before sitting down.
  37. What you post on the internet, echoes in eternity.
  38. Keep a well stocked first aid kit.
  39. Read “Skill With People” by Les Giblin at least once a year.
  40. (Mamaw’s favorite) “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
  41. Smile when talking on the phone.  The other party will hear it in your voice.
  42. Don’t confuse wealth with success.
  43. When you need professional advice, get it from professionals, not from your friends.
  44. Use a fountain pen.
  45. When you say, “I love you,” mean it.
  46. When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye.
  47. Take off your sunglasses when you talk to someone.  The eyes are the windows to the soul.
  48. Don’t ever ask a woman when she is due, no matter how positive you are that she is expecting a baby.
  49. When you see tourists taking pictures of each other, offer to take a picture of their group together.
  50. Practice the spiritual discipline of fasting.  It’s found all through scripture, yet we often overlook it’s importance.
  51. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Colossians 3:23)  Fill out God’s expense report, mow God’s yard, take God’s dog for a walk, etc.
  52. Buy whatever kids are selling on a card table in their front yards.
  53. Love people. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Roosevelt
  54. Never say, “My child would never do that.”  Your Gran made that mistake right before I peed on another kid.
  55. When there’s a piano to be moved, don’t reach for the stool.
  56. Take your dad golfing.
  57. Return things you borrow promptly and leave a thank you note.
  58. Remember that everyone’s favorite subject is themselves.  Talk about them instead of you and they’ll think you’re the most interesting conversationalist in the world.
  59. Never hit a basketball with a baseball bat; especially if it’s laying on the ground.
  60. When you find a coin on the ground, pick it up and give it to the first person you see.
  61. Pictures of places without people in them are boring.
  62. Don’t make fun of people who speak broken English.  That just means they know more than one language.
  63. The Andy Griffith Show was the best television show ever.  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
  64. Don’t eat a fried pie unless you know what inside (if it’s your grandmother’s it could be peaches, but it could be refried beans)
  65. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  66. Don’t get caught glancing at your watch or your cell phone when you are talking to someone.
  67. Be the first adult to jump into the pool or run into the ocean with the kids. They will love you for it.
  68. Pull your car over when a funeral procession is passing.
  69. Set a good example.  Ask yourself, “If my children grow up to be just like me, what kind of children, will my children be?”
  70. Buy the most medium product.  You don’t want the cheapest item and you don’t need the most expensive.
  71. Don’t use your cruise control in the rain.
  72. Give away any clothes you haven’t worn in more than a year.
  73. Choose your spouse carefully. From this one decision will come ninety percent of all your happiness or misery.
  74. Don’t smoke.  It won’t send you to hell, but it will make you smell like you’ve been there.
  75. Hang a poster on the back of your bathroom door to help teach a few of Life’s Little Instructions.


NOTE (July 1, 2014): Due to the overwhelming response from this blog, I’m adapting a version of this list into a short devotional book and also a poster for your bathroom door.  Follow this blog for future updates and I’ll let you know when they are ready.  God Bless.


Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Family, Personal


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

5 responses to “75 Things I Want to Teach My Kids

  1. Anthony Buckner

    July 26, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Awesome job. Raise them up right!

  2. Kathy Higdon

    July 26, 2013 at 11:51 am

    My Dad taught his six children that “Nobody owes you a living-if you can’t make a dollar, make 50 cents.”

  3. Samantha

    January 7, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Don’t smoke…haha love that one! Great list!

  4. Belynda

    February 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Wait wait, though. #30 – Don’t touch the flusher in a public toilet because it’s dirty… but then #31… poop while on the phone?

    Other than that though, dead on! Love this 🙂

  5. Kimberly

    February 28, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Years ago, a book was printed titled “Life’s Little Instruction Book” this reminds me of the sweet additives to make life simply better. Thanks for sharing.


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