11 Life Lessons For My Son

I’m hopeful that one day I will have at least one child. And while I don’t know if I will have a boy or girl, or multiples of either, here are some life lessons I want my son to know, should I have one. So while he hasn’t arrived yet, maybe you can pass these along to your little ones or nieces and nephews. (Yes, many of these are applicable to a girl, and yes, I’ll be doing one for my daughter at a later date.)

1. Talk to your significant other like you would talk to your parent.

If you ever find yourself about to say something or raise your volume to a higher-than-normal level, think about whether or not you would talk to me or your mother in such a manner.

While the relationship between you and your significant other will obviously be much different than the one you have with us, there is a level of respect that should be equal among both.

2. Never be afraid to be “too nice.”

While the acting like a jerk may work in your teens, it’s no way to live your life. Doing so may make you appear more attractive to some girls, but as you get older, people will remember the way you treated them. Always think long term.

3. Call the person you’re into.

Don’t wait three days to call. Don’t wait two days to call. If you’re into them and you want to make plans, call them. Not calling them for a couple of days because you’re busy is one thing, but waiting because you think you have to simply asinine.

4. Always, always, always smell good.

Scent is one of the most memorable traits we have in our bodies, for better or worse. One whiff of something and we can easily think of something with incredibly vivid detail.

Smelling good inclines a woman to want to be closer to you; it also becomes your trademark. The same way you’re going to like the smell of your pillow after she spends a night over is the same way she’s going to like it when she “borrows” the sweater you won’t see for weeks, months or years.

5. Axe is your acquaintance, not your friend.

Axe is not on your “favorites” list in your phone. Axe is not your go-to person. Axe is the last-resort person that you can have a great time with, but in very small doses.

Too much Axe, and everyone around you will distance themselves from you for associating yourself with them; but just the right amount will do wonders.

6. Learn how to dress yourself.

Oversized shirts and basketball jerseys aren’t going to make you look bad-ass; you’re going to look like a kid who raided his big brother’s closet.

Those funny t-shirts really aren’t that funny; maybe have one or two of them (if you really like them) and only save them for your scrub-out days.

Aeropostale flooded my closet long past puberty, which already got off to a late start, and I won’t let you make the same mistake. When you reach a certain age (cough, well before 21), I’ll take you to other stores and we can diversify your wardrobe.

Learn what a button-down shirt is. Learn how to rock a button-down shirt. You’ll thank me in the long run, trust me.

7. You can never be “overdressed” at an event.

Speaking of fashion, there is no such thing as being “overdressed” at an event, within reason. Obviously if you’re going to a friend’s birthday party at the mall, you don’t need to wear a suit; but for bigger events, bigger is always better.

If people are rocking jeans and a button-down shirt and you come walking in with dress pants and a tie, few people will look at you and think, “Wow, he looks like such an idiot.” It’s also a known fact that most ladies prefer a sharp-dressed man to some sloppy-looking dude.

8. You’re not getting a tattoo before graduating high school.

As I’m writing this, I have one tattoo. By the time you read this, I’ll likely have several of them. I have no problems with you getting a tattoo, but there are concerns and/or guidelines:

(1) You’re not getting one before you graduate high school, period.

(2) I’m not paying for your first one. If you want one as a present later in life, that’s fine, but I feel like your first should be all you.

(3) Please, for the love of God, stay away from your hands, neck and face. I don’t care if you want full sleeves down both arms and legs, but please don’t have anything show that can’t be covered in a suit when on a job interview.

(4) Please talk to me before you get one. I promise to listen to anything you have to say with an open mind.

9. Learn a talent.

Learn to play an instrument (or several); learn to play a sport (or several); learn how to sing; learn how to dance; hell, if you can manage to do all of these somewhat well, you’re in terrific shape.

You don’t need to be the next Hendrix, or Beckham, or Timberlake, but if you have a well-rounded arsenal of talents, it will serve you well in life, especially when it comes to the dating.

10. Find someone who makes you happy.

Don’t go for someone just because they’re incredibly attractive or attracted to you. You’re going to know what you like, and that’s all that really matters. If and when you find someone who makes you happy and a better person, hold on to them.

11. Always follow The Golden Rule.

It will never become outdated — treat people with respect and you will (hopefully) get respect back. Treat them as you wish to be treated. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Mike is a New York-based writer and admitted hopeless romantic. If Ted Mosby and Carrie Bradshaw had a son, it would be him. When he’s not writing about love, dating, and relationships, he’s working his actual job as a sports reporter and columnist.

Tune into his podcast, “Heart Of The Matter” here.

Keep up with Mike on Instagram, Twitter and Website

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