Best Life Lessons to Pass on to Kids

Favorite quotations, etc.
suomalainen
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Best Life Lessons to Pass on to Kids

Post by suomalainen » Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:56 pm

I can't do nested quotes for some reason. Anyway:
chicago81 wrote:
Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:51 am
Oh my gosh, this is the best advice I've heard in a long, long time.
I agreed that what Chicago was quoting, which is below, is excellent, and pithy, advice. This quote got me thinking about things I want to make sure I teach my kids before they graduate high school or college so that they are as well prepared for this life as possible. I know there are self-help books galore that talk about this kind of thing, but I thought it would be interesting and/or insightful to have a collection where people like yourselves share a piece of advice or two that have given you "aha moments". First the one that sparked this thread which is talking about how to succeed in a job setting:
Scott 2 wrote:
Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:46 am
Be liked, easy to work with, competent. In that order.

So if the group wants to do it wrong, happily agree and discover it doesn't work with them, instead of insisting they do it right.
And then one I'll gin up myself from a piece I read somewhere here: homairakabir.com which deals with handling criticism:
When considering a course of action in your life, consider your values and be thoughtful about it before embarking on that course. If you receive criticism for the chosen course, if it comes from someone who cares about you, whose values align with yours and whose concerns are justified, then you should give serious consideration to the criticism and the concerns; if not, then you should not give undue weight to that person's opinion.
Are there deeply impactful lessons learned in your life that you'd want to ensure your kids learned before their 30s and 40s?

Edit: trying to adjust the title from "Life Advice" to "Life Lessons", since the question is really more broad than just "what things should I say to my kids". It's what should I try to teach them, so that includes teaching by talking, by guiding, by assisting, by mentoring, by being an example, etc.
Last edited by suomalainen on Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

UK-with-kids
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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by UK-with-kids » Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:57 pm

For me these two examples of good advice contradict each other. I always want to do things well, so just trying to be liked in the workplace instead of being competent, while it might get me further up the greasy pole, ultimately wouldn't give me life satisfaction because it goes against my values. I'd rather earn respect by being good at what I do, not being superficially everyone's best friend.

As a general principle I think kids have to learn for themselves and don't like listening to their parents. Having said that, I really liked the MrMoneyMustache blog article called "The Incomparable Advantage of Having to Work for what you Get", I suppose because it's learning through actions as part of a way of life rather than "lessons" delivered by parental lecture.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by ThisDinosaur » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:05 pm

The first few sentences of the Enchiridion:
Epictitus wrote:Some things are under our [complete] control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.
There is no sense in worrying about things you can't control. The worry just wastes finite time and energy you could be using toward some other goal. It makes no sense to worry about things you can control, either. If you know what you could do, just do that thing.

suomalainen
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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by suomalainen » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:42 pm

@uk, I think you're missing @Scott2's point. He didn't say "just try to be liked instead of being competent." Nor did he say to "superficially be everyone's best friend." Another way to think about what @Scott2 is saying is that it's important to build relationships in order to be effective or persuasive or a leader. Yet another way is the old "no one cares what you know until they know that you care." Yet another way is "don't be a prick." All extremely important lessons for anyone who has ever had to work with others. "Plays well with others" is not something to sneer at.

And I agree that showing is better than telling. And sometimes all you can do is guide while they figure it out mostly for themselves. But the point of my question is to get at those life lessons that took you YEARS to figure out that maybe are encapsulated in a short sentence or story. I have lots of those little things, but they are all from my perspective and probably largely reflect my blind spots that took years to fill in. Others will have other blind spots that may better correlate with my kids', so seeing others' blind spots may be instructive. For example, I immediately understood your reference to "working for what you get", since that was one my dad's big things and I can now see the good it did me and I have already passed it along to my kids. There are other things that my dad failed to teach me that I eventually learned along the way (such as what it's like in the business world). And one of those things is the importance of building relationships, as @Scott2 pithily stated.

@TD, excellent example and one that is extremely relevant to me personally at this time.

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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by jacob » Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:03 am

  • Sports/exercise is important. If you don't experience what a high-performance body feels like as a child when it's easy to develop, it will be that much harder to grok that the shape you think is decent/average as an adult is actually pretty piss poor.
  • Many high profile techies don't let their children near "screens": ipads, smartphones, computer, ... Go figure?!
  • The ability to cook a meal (on a regular basis), budget and save, and do basic household DIY is important. Many young adults seem to lack one or all of those basic life skills.
  • Avoid student debt like the plague.

Scott 2
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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 1:44 pm

Hah, didn't expect to see this thread.

Implicit in my point is, sometimes we are blind to our own limitations. The group could be right.

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BRUTE
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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by BRUTE » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:15 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI

brute recommends to wear sunscreen.

Seppia
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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by Seppia » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:26 pm

- one of the biggest strengths one can have is to be very aware of his/her limitations.
- you are entitled to act as you please only if you are willing to bear the full consequences of your actions.
- don't cheat/steal.
- money is very important because those who have enough of it have more options/freedom than those who don't.

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BlueNote
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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by BlueNote » Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:26 pm

End of the day kids will pick up some stuff from their parents and some stuff on their own. They'll pick up skills that their parents didn't have and they'll miss some skill their parents wished they'd had. My parents life advice was generally fairly obvious (do work you like, treat people with respect etc.) or wasn't very good (won't repeat here). I think if you really value the advice than your kids will already know the value of the advice by having been your child for 19+ years. This will often result in a "ya, ya, ya" eye rolling type of response when you give them life advice instead of the hollywood heart to heart you might be hoping for.

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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by OTCW » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:18 pm

If you want something, work for it. The less you want, the less you need to work.

suomalainen
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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by suomalainen » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:16 pm

@bluenote Harder and faster rules for the basic stuff when they're younger: "go outside" "be nice to your brothers" "do your chores" "you gotta earn and use your own money, I won't buy that for you" "make it easy" "wear sunscreen". But as they get older, no heart to hearts. No lectures. Guidance and suggestion mostly. Enough to start them on, or at least introduce them to, the right paths, but walking those paths will be their journey. The above are excellent reminders of things I want to at least expose the kids to, not cram down their throats. I have no illusions of the role of or the effectiveness of my parenting. Whether they adopt the suggested wisdom is up to them. And also, sometimes, all that's needed is to whisper the seed of a thought in their experience/memory, and years later the seed germinates when circumstances align and they know they can come to you for more detail on the seed planted long ago. I've already seen that happen with the 14 year old, and I know it'll keep happening.

This is good stuff. Keep 'em coming.

oldbeyond
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Re: Best Life Lessons to Pass on to Kids

Post by oldbeyond » Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:22 am

- Diminishing returns in everything makes it great value to strive for competence in many fields. Health, relationships, practical skills, the arts, finance, ecology. I think everyone will go deeper in some fields than others, but basic competence is likely achievable in most
- A lot of human interaction consists of status games. Seeing through them without becoming too cynic is hard but worthwhile
- In human interaction, cooperating and being trusting, but knowing when to put your foot down to avoid being a sucker, is usually the right play. At least in relatively stable, peaceful conditions
- Your mind is a sucker for stories. Aim to undermine your favorite narratives about the world with logic in order to improve them(make a better model). Try to understand your enemies point of view - they feel themselves to be in the right, too
- Happiness is likely impsossible to plan for, but removing sources of unhappiness is usually relatively easy
- History is a live test of human behaviour in wildly varying circumstances. This is very precious

UK-with-kids
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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by UK-with-kids » Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:43 am

suomalainen wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:42 pm
@uk, I think you're missing @Scott2's point. He didn't say "just try to be liked instead of being competent." Nor did he say to "superficially be everyone's best friend." Another way to think about what @Scott2 is saying is that it's important to build relationships in order to be effective or persuasive or a leader. Yet another way is the old "no one cares what you know until they know that you care." Yet another way is "don't be a prick." All extremely important lessons for anyone who has ever had to work with others. "Plays well with others" is not something to sneer at.
Thanks for the further explanation. "Plays well with others" is definitely not how I've usually been described, either as a child or an adult. It's interesting that I've seen the same thing in my daughter from a very young age (so probably inherent rather than learned from me). Whereas my partner and other daughter are naturally very good with people and instantly build rapport and are liked by everybody. I wonder if it comes down to personality types as I'm INTJ with very strong introversion, and hence I don't "get" the social lubrication necessary for good relationships. It takes a lot of effort to "be liked" and I find it tiring and a big distraction, just as those with other natural inclinations might find it hard to show good attention to detail or deferred gratification for example.

The relevance to this thread is that different life lessons might be relevant to different people. I would definitely have benefited from internalizing the "Be liked, easy to work with, competent. In that order." advice as a child, whereas my partner would have done well to keep practising the marshmallow test until she could pass it. Two problems with that though. Firstly, you're working against the human nature of the child. I've never been brilliant at relationships or gone to lots of parties, but that's what's helped me focus and do well at my studies, ultimately working in the kind of job I like doing because it's all about competency with data and doesn't revolve so much around the need to "be liked". I'm not sure how it would have turned out if I'd been forced to socialize more. Secondly, as personality types often run in families, it's not a given that the parents have learnt the very lessons that would be most beneficial or relevant to their offspring.

UK-with-kids
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Re: Best Life Lessons to Pass on to Kids

Post by UK-with-kids » Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:44 am

Not wanting to hijack your thread I thought I'd post something more in line with what you're probably looking for.

"If" by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Seppia
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Re: Best Life Lessons to Pass on to Kids

Post by Seppia » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:13 am

oldbeyond wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:22 am
- Happiness is likely impossible to plan for, but removing sources of unhappiness is usually relatively easy
- History is a live test of human behavior in wildly varying circumstances. This is very precious
very good ones, thanks for sharing.

suomalainen
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Re: Best Life Lessons to Pass on to Kids

Post by suomalainen » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:16 am

UK-with-kids wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:43 am
The relevance to this thread is that different life lessons might be relevant to different people.
Yes, exactly. This thread is about filling in blind spots to a "basic competence" level a la this:
oldbeyond wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:22 am
- Diminishing returns in everything makes it great value to strive for competence in many fields... but basic competence is likely achievable in most
My "aha moments" are important to me because they filled in my blind spots / weaknesses after many years of struggle. Conversely, my strengths do not feel as important to me because they came to me easily. My kids will inherent and/or have an example of my strengths, but my strengths are not the only relevant things in their lives. By trying to give them a broad sampling of life lessons as appropriate teaching moments come up, I hope to give them a head start on "striving for basic competence in many relevant/useful/needed fields".

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: Best Life Lessons to Pass on to Kids

Post by Kriegsspiel » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:30 am

Don't hit your brothers in the face or balls was a rule in the Gronkowski household, and produced 5 professional athletes. Good advice for all families.

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BlueNote
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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by BlueNote » Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:41 am

suomalainen wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:16 pm
@bluenote Harder and faster rules for the basic stuff when they're younger: "go outside" "be nice to your brothers" "do your chores" "you gotta earn and use your own money, I won't buy that for you" "make it easy" "wear sunscreen". But as they get older, no heart to hearts. No lectures. Guidance and suggestion mostly. Enough to start them on, or at least introduce them to, the right paths, but walking those paths will be their journey.
This is good advice for a parent. I guess my main piece of advice will be to learn who you are and put yourself into the best possible situations where you will thrive and avoid situations where you won't. This leads to trying different paths, choosing a good mate/spouse, choosing friends carefully, making good career choices , putting oneself in a good financial situation etc. Also they need to realize that it is possible to follow all the good advice, avoid bad things and still end up in a bad place. That is life and part of life is learning to accept that this will likely happen in some areas of it despite your best preparations.

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Re: Best Life Lessons to Pass on to Kids

Post by UK-with-kids » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:20 pm

I was talking to my other half about this subject and she pointed out that kids will follow an example more than a lecture, and will also develop their beliefs system based on what they see unfolding around them. So for example when she goes out to work it gives our girls aspirations about what is possible for girls/women to achieve, and when I make the dinner and clean up they see it isn't just the job of the female in the household.

I guess that is the opposite of "Do as I say, not as I do" which is unfortunately the way many parents behave. Leading by example is much better.

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Re: Best Life Advice to Pass on to Kids

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:39 pm

UK-with-kids wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 4:43 am
I wonder if it comes down to personality types as I'm INTJ with very strong introversion, and hence I don't "get" the social lubrication necessary for good relationships. It takes a lot of effort to "be liked" and I find it tiring and a big distraction, just as those with other natural inclinations might find it hard to show good attention to detail or deferred gratification for example."
I keep very few friends, for the reasons you describe. Strong attention to detail can be used to memorize the behavior patterns that produce liking, then apply them as appropriate. With practice it becomes automatic.

I'm not suggesting something fake like repeating a person's name 5 times in every conversation. Rather, observe what they value as an individual, then try to provide it.

Someone with imposter's syndrome might want private words of praise and re-assurance they are valuable. A recent parent might want to bond over lack of sleep or how selfless they've become. A narcissist might want you to come to them for help, then tell the group how smart they were. Someone who values gifts might want a box of those cookies you were telling them about.

One that really threw me, is a pattern I've now observed in a couple tech guys. They want to trade insults. It took me years to realize when they were giving me shit, they were attempting to bond, and I was shutting the relationship down by diffusing the "conflict". Our interactions become much warmer once I mirrored the behavior.

People aren't unique snowflakes. The patterns are well studied and can be learned. In my experience, as long as your execution is genuine (ie don't fake interest in someone's kids), it doesn't matter if you draw upon memorized scripts.

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