Things to teach your kids

When the moment comes, most parents have very mixed feelings. There your child goes, off into the wilderness, and you are not sure whether you want to jump for joy, or get out the sackcloth and ashes. Or both.

 No more waiting up until 3 am for your errant offspring, no more picking up dirty clothes off the bathroom floor, no more feeling you have to say something about the vagrant look-alike outfit your child chose for the day.

But also no more chats late into the night, no more conspiratorial giggles, no more someone who really means it when they say you look nice.

Here are some pieces of advice that you have had 18 years to impart. If you haven’t done so, here follow some pointers:

Ready, steady…

  • You can wear any colour with denim.
  • Never do business with friends or family.
  • End friendships or relationships that no longer work for you.
  • When a dentist or doctor says , “This won’t hurt,” they are lying.
  • The only things that are worth going into debt for, are fixed assets that increase in value.
  • When people use guilt to manipulate you, they do not have your best interests at heart.
  • Learn to take joy in little things in life.
  • Admitting vulnerability is a thing only very strong people can do.
  • Parents love you, but they are not always right about everything.
  • Read constantly.
  • The difference between a bad and a good haircut is only six weeks.
  • Don’t harbour grudges. They only affect you and not the person at whom they are directed.
  • Be patient, people often get what they deserve without your interference.


  • Don’t let fear of rejection stop you from getting close to people or asking them for help.
  • Money is important, but should not always influence important life decisions.
  • Learn to receive love and affection from others and believe that you don’t have to do anything to deserve it, other than being yourself.
  • Always be nice to children and animals.
  • Drivers wearing hats are likely to indicate a right turn and turn left.
  • Develop your spiritual side – in whatever way you find meaningful.
  • If you want to see how a person is likely to treat you one day, look at how he/she treats their parents or siblings
  • Positive input always achieves more than reprimands, but don’t be afraid to set limits.
  • If the phone rings while you are in the bath, let it ring. If it is really important, whoever it was, will phone back.
  • Don’t get involved in office politics.
  • Laugh every day.
  • Do things immediately rather than having them hang over you for weeks.
  • Don’t do for other people what they should be doing for themselves.
  • Cry when you need to.

Still going strong

Almost there

  • Never have sex without a condom, unless you have been in a monogamous relationship for a long time.
  • Get rid of friends who do not make you feel good about yourself.
  • Remember that angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
  • Nobody can change another person. If you don’t love someone as they are, don’t get involved with them.
  • Shop assistants will tell a whale in a bikini that she looks fantastic, just to make the sale.
  • Deal with emotional or medical problems before they get out of hand.
  • Get a pet from an animal shelter and be kind to it.
  • Learn to say ‘no’ when you need to – people will respect you for it
  • Don’t do drugs or associate with people who do.
  • Don’t be scared to give and receive love from people.
  • Never drink and drive or get in-to a car with a driver who has been drinking.

Almost there

If you find the pair of shoes you have been looking for two years, buy two pairs.

Learn to make friends with yourself – that is the only companion you will have from birth to death.

Don’t ignore debt, it will not go away.

Listen to your inner voice – it always speaks the truth, when we listen carefully.

No-one ever deserves to be abused.

Give anonymously of your time or your money to the universe.

Only believe an apology from someone if the behaviour is not repeated.

Make an effort with friendships that are worthwhile. Take social initiative and don’t sit around waiting for others to make the effort.

The last lap

When someone says “I’ll call you” after a one-night stand, chances are they won’t.

Make ground rules before moving into a house or flat with anyone.

Buy something if you know it will haunt you for weeks if you don’t.

Our bodies tell us when a relationship is over – we lose interest in sex long before our mind registers ‘THE END’.

Be careful who you trust, but don’t be afraid to do so once someone has gained your trust.

Age is not a qualification – older people do not necessarily always know better.

Be a good friend and you will have good friends.

Do things spontaneously every now and then, like walking in the rain, being friendly to a complete stranger, or going away for the weekend at a moment’s notice.

Remember that things always seem much worse than they really are at the time.

We are never too old to laugh and to have fun or to learn from life and other people.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, April 2007)

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