Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Teaching your daughter the facts of life

First a couple of quick disclaimers:

1. By "facts of life" I am not referring the 1980s TV series The Facts of Life. Though you could learn a lot about the facts of life by watching The Facts of Life.

2. I am also not referring to sex, though you really should talk to your child about sex at some point, preferably before they have it.

No, what I am about to refer to are the real facts of life -- or, perhaps, more accurately, the realities of life. Those unpleasant realities that we all encounter, at some point, which make us gnash our teeth and stomp around and complain.

Well, forewarned is forearmed, I say. Herewith, six realities of life. (Listen up, girls. Guys too.)

1. Life is unfair. Deal with it. You may be the best and/or the brightest. You may do all the right things. That doesn't mean you will be successful or rich or happy. Unless you are really good looking. Good looking people have been shown (or proven) to get more jobs, more money, and more promotions. Though that doesn't mean they are happy!

2. Honesty isn't always the best policy. Yes, yes, yes, we all know that lying is bad and no one should do it. But sometimes a situation calls for a fib, or a white lie, to protect someone's feelings -- or your ass from winding up in a sling. Just don't let me catch you lying to me!

3. Cheaters sometimes prosper, but eventually they get caught (most of the time). Cheating (e.g., copying homework, plagiarizing, using someone else's test results or Cliff Notes) is wrong and dishonest. When you cheat, you don't learn. Sure, it's the easy way out, and you probably see people doing it at school, who get As or awards, and you think, "Why didn't I cheat instead of blowing a whole weekend studying?!" But the reality is that while lots of people cheat, and often get away with it, they are missing out -- and eventually they get caught. And it typically doesn't end well.

4. It's not what you know but who you know. (See 1.) As most of us have learned the hard (or, perhaps, the easy) way, who you know -- aka networking -- is typically more effective at getting you a job or a hard-to-get reservation or ticket than what you know. So as you go through life, work hard, but also take the time to cultivate people -- teachers, parents, friends, coworkers, bosses. Be polite and helpful -- and don't be afraid to ask for help, an introduction, or a reference. Just be prepared to do the same -- and remember to say "thank you."

5. Most people suck at time management, aka, People (or their lives) are messy and disorganized. Don't take it personally (when they don't email or text or call you back). As someone who prides herself on being organized and efficient and a logistics whiz, who immediately returns emails, texts, and calls, this lesson was very hard to learn -- and I'm still working on the "don't take it personally part." But trust me, kid, you will be a whole lot happier, or saner, if you just assume that most people are bad time managers and will not get back to you, possibly ever. If it's important, you follow up with them. Repeatedly, if necessary.

6. Guys, especially teenage guys, typically go for girls with nice (or big) boobs -- and tall, skinny blonde girls with pretty faces. True, there are some exceptions to this rule. Unfortunately, I can't think of any right now. See Rule 1.

There are probably some gems I am missing. If you all think of any, please feel free to add it or them to my list via the Comments.

UPDATED 7/9/14: Just thought of one more.

7. No one cares. Unless you are famous. Most people are self-centered and self-absorbed. They don't care about your (seemingly petty) problems. Unless you are famous. Then everyone cares.


Anna said...

Excellent parenting advice! I will keep these in my memory bank for later I'm at the point where my daughter has to learn to speak up when something is unfair and no longer expect mom to do it for her:)


GSA said...

Quite a list! I especially like #5 and hope you are indeed learning not to take lack-of-contact personally. As for #7, my mother used that advice in a different context. For instance, if I was worried about something that I had done or what people would think about it/me, she'd remind me that people are too busy thinking about themselves to remained fixed on anything else. Good advice.