Some of you are in the trenches of parenting. Physically fatigued. Never a moment to think, much less to ponder what life lessons to teach your kiddos! I understand. I am not far from those years. I still have two at home. But with one grown and gone and another pretty much gone, I have time (in the shower!) to wonder if I have done a good enough job training them. In between piano lessons and swim team and AWANA and Latin, did the messages I meant to convey ever get through? Looking at my kids, they seem to be doing well. But I still worry that I never got around to communicating satisfactorily some things that I think are important. So I sat down today and made a list. Just some things we must tell the children....
To Katie, Mary, Chip, and Betsy --
1. Be on time. Actually, be early. (the 30 minute "Sinyard standard" is not completely necessary, but don't be late. Shows self-discipline and respect for others)
2. Manners matter. If you know which fork to use and how to introduce your guest, you will be less SELF-conscious and therefore able to be OTHERS-conscious
3. Write thank you notes. Even if I am not standing over your shoulder, write thank you notes. Handwritten. Not email.
4. Be kind to the people who cannot do anything to benefit you.
5. DO NOT GET IN DEBT. If you do, make it your priority to get out.
6. Make your bed as soon as you get up. Seriously. It will set the tone for your whole day.
7. Stay best friends with each other. I promise you will need each other. If nothing else, you have to pick out my nursing home together.
8. Give. Give your time and talents but also your money away. To church, parachurch organizations and people that won't show up on your tax return.
9. Laugh. Alot. (and not just at other people....)
10 Remember "the sibling test" when you get ready to get married.
11. Keep memorizing Scripture. As you think, so you will be. God's Word will transform you. And it is your only offensive weapon against the Enemy of your soul.
12. Work really hard at everything you do. Set the standard for diligence for everyone around you.
13. Keep learning. Always be ready to learn a new skill or information. It will keep you interesting and maybe you won't go senile so early!
14. READ. READ. READ.
15. Go on mission trips regularly. And share the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.
16. Don't cheat. I know you will be tempted because it is all around you. And it is easy to do. But don't. You will hate yourself. And once you have cheated, you will find it easier to compromise again. In other areas. (If you have cheated, you are not doomed forever. Make it right and then begin with a clean slate)
17. Don't lie. To others...or to yourself.
18. Be cheerful. I repeat, BE CHEERFUL. Even in the mornings. A stand-up comedy routine isn't necessary but be pleasant.
19. Treat all authority with respect. Including police officers with speeding tickets in hand...
20. Treat all people with dignity. NO ONE is beneath you. Absolutely no one.
21. Serve. When you are with a group of people or at someone's house or wherever, serve. Don't wait to be asked - initiate serving.
22. Have an ongoing to-do list and get things done. Again, diligence.
23. Every year, write a note to 3-4 people who have contributed to your life. Handwritten note.
24. Celebrate the successes of other people. Especially each other. Your Dad is the best at this of anyone I know. Follow his example.
25. Come home whenever you can as much as you want to for as long as possible. I promise to make your favorite foods and do your laundry. Forever. I love you.
Oh, and always remember to call your Mom. That's #1-100. Always call your Mom.