The following twenty pieces of advice I provide for the benefit of young men and boys. These are some basic precepts that I feel, if laid to heart, will greatly aid a young man as he makes his way into manhood.
And now, in no particular order…
1. Get to know your potential wife’s mother as well as possible, because she is very likely a close approximation of who the love of your life will turn out to be. A girl gets a lot of her values and beliefs (and half of her genes!) from her mother.
2. When you love a girl and you think you want to marry her, the true test is to look at yourself. If she makes you twice the person you could ever be on your own, then there’s a good chance that this is the one. ;)
3. Buy a house at the earliest possible time. Any house, any place, any terms. Just do it. You will not regret the investment.
4. Care about your credit from the moment you take your first job, and treat it as a precious thing. Fulfill your financial obligations to the best of your ability, and always communicate with creditors. Communication is king.
5. Practice the self-discipline of having moderation in all things; too much of anything will eventually have a negative effect on you and those around you.
6. Always remember that you are not the captain of the ship, but merely a first mate…you do not have control of every aspect of your life. Therefore, be aware of the nudges and hints and road signs that “fate” will give you, and follow them; watch for the doors that open, the opportunities that appear promising, and walk through them.
7. Do everything with the understanding that it will come back to you eventually (because it will indeed come back to you), so be sure to think about the morality and potential ramifications of the deed. Believe this: nothing in your past will ever just disappear; if you do not deal with it now, you will deal with it later.
8. Adopted from Solomon, but so, so true: Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might. If a thing is worth doing at all, then do it to the very best of your ability.
9. Do not fear change, no matter what form it appears in; Change is good and a door of opportunity: utilize it as a step upward and forward.
10. Whatever you break (relationships, trust, moral obligations, physical items, etc.), fix it immediately. Procrastination can render a thing unable to be fixed…ever.
11. Silence (in a relationship) is rarely your friend. Communication is the pathway to healing and growth.
12. In order to make every argument result in a positive outcome, remember and practice this truth: The one thing that all sides need above all other things is to be heard. Not shallowly, not patronizingly, but sincerely listened to. Give them that, and they will be able to hear you. Deny them that one thing, and they will never be able to hear you no matter how solid you believe your position to be.
13. When the time comes to purchase a vehicle, buy a used car outright ($2000-$5000) and then plan on occasionally investing in repairs. This is much wiser than financing and you’ll be happier and smarter for it.
14. Never resign yourself to a less than desirable outcome until you have exhausted every possible avenue, and I do mean every one. Do not be a “door shutter”…open those doors and explore what’s behind them!
15. If you want something, ask for it, no matter how certain you are of the answer beforehand. You never know what you can have until you ask.
16. You must like who you are. Therefore, do the things that cause you to like and be happy with yourself! Choose the things you know to be right and good no matter how hard you or your peers pressure you to choose otherwise. Elect to do the thing for which you will have no regrets later.
17. In all of your relationships, romantic or not, give. Give of your time, your patience, your understanding, your physical means, and anything else that is yours to control. Practice giving; it is the only way to learn how to do it.
18. Honor those who trust you by doing what you commit to, for they have honored you by believing that you will.
19. All politics aside, you are physically the stronger of the sexes; use that advantage to protect, provide, and love; never to harm.
20. Ascribe great value to your relationship with your parents, even through the tumultuous teenage years. You may feel like you don’t want it now, but you will want it later.