Worldly Lessons for Graduates

(Please note, this column originally published several years ago when my son graduated high school. Being as I didn’t really write this — the contents are contributed from friends and family are generally timeless — I believe it is worth sharing with yet another class of graduates. Congratulations!)

With the end of this school year my son will graduate from high school and move onto another stage in life in which I’ll most likely play a contributing role at best. No longer will we share the day’s events over the dinner table or just hang out on the front step talking about how to deal with a troubling situation he is contemplating. My relationship will be transitioning from parent to consultant in many aspects. In the end, the decisions – and results – will be his and his alone.

While I’m accepting of this development, I realize as a parent you’ll never feel your work is complete – as if there is always going to be an urge for a “just one more thing I want to share” moment.

This brings me to this week’s column. The random lessons below – written in no particular order – are a culmination from not only my life, but from those people I value in my life most: friends and family.  Wednesday afternoon I posted this idea for a column on the social-networking site Facebook and within hours received nearly two-dozen individuals contributing to this piece – and therein lies the credit for the wide and varied wisdom. This is, for all intents and purposes, a virtual conversation with people around the country with graduating high school students.

So as yet another high school class approaches graduation, here are a few final thoughts from those who’ve been there.

The “one more thing….” list:

If you can only afford to replace two tires on your car, put the new ones on front.

Always do your best – especially when you think no one will notice. They do.

Telling the truth is always easier to remember.

When using a wrench: lefty loosey, righty tighty.

Take action on things when you first think of them – time has a way of getting away from you.

Remember to tell important people in your life you love them regularly.

Regardless of what you hear, God does exist and will be there when you need him most. Really.

Change your oil every 3,500 miles and rotate your tires every other time.

The tip of a shoelace is named an anglet.

Being right isn’t always the most important thing in life.

Moderation is usually the best choice.

You’re not likely to be the smartest person in the room – so don’t act like it.

Counting to ten before you get angry works.

What goes around comes around.

Never SPEND more than you MAKE.

Don’t eat yellow snow.

If you don’t make mistakes you don’t make anything.

You will experience failure, the key is to always fail forward…never repeat a failure

Don’t stand up in a canoe

If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Never underestimate the power of kindness to make a difference in the lives of others.

Treat everyone like you would want to be treated!

Call your momma.

Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

You need to learn how to laugh at yourself.

Your beliefs determine your actions; think seriously about what you believe.

Always expect that others can change; it is what you would want others to believe of you as well.

You are entitled to your opinion; the world is not obligated to hear it.

If you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re probably right.

You want it, earn it.

Remember you to listen more than you speak – that’s why you have two ears and only one mouth.

Everything is sales. EVERYTHING.

Learn how to prioritize.

Great love and great achievements involve great risks.

God first, others second, me third…a hard one.

Believe “failure is not an option” and you will be a success at everything.

Worry is like a rocking chair: it takes up a lot of energy, but doesn’t get you anywhere.

No man ever lay on his deathbed wishing he’d spent more time at the office.

– 30 –

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