My son PJ recently celebrated his 18th birthday.  Unfortunately, I was not there for the party.  His mother and I have not been together since he was a baby.  He lives with her in Washington County (while I live here in Augusta).  As a result, I do not see him as much as I would like.  We do talk through email and he does visit a few times a year.  Actually, as he's gotten older, he has become the best roadie a wedding / event DJ could ever ask for.

He loves video games, but what teen doesn't, right?  He loves electronics and technology and, the last I knew, was planning to go to school for coding.

In the days leading up to his birthday, I took the time to write down some valuable advice I have learned as an adult.  Things that I wish someone had told me when I was young.


 

Happy 18th birthday PJ!

You are, in the eyes of the law, now a man.  You can now vote, enter into contracts without a co-signer, buy mature video games, and play the lottery.

As you prepare to graduate high school and take the next steps in your life, I thought I would pass on some advice to you, so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Work Hard – Whether it’s at school, sports, or a job, always apply yourself the best you can.  Don’t become an obsessive fanatic about it, but you should never half-a** things, either.

Listen Twice as Much as You Speak – Is it cliché?  Yes.  Is it good advice?  Yes!  You are almost always better off waiting until you know all the facts before you start giving your thoughts.  Besides, when you less, your words will have more weight.

Be Humble – It is okay to be confidant in your skills and talents, but there is no need to remind everyone.  There’s a good chance that you’ll just come off looking like an arrogant jerk.

Be Honest – Yes, we’ve all heard “honesty is the best policy”.  It sound silly, but it really is true.  Don’t lie, don’t take credit for other’s work, don’t steal, and admit your mistakes.    Sooner or later, being dishonest will just backfire on you.

Be Kind And Respectful To Everyone -  First, being kind is the right thing to do.  And, you never know what kind of a day someone is having.  Your kindness could be the first ray of light they have had all day.  Also, you don’t know who that stranger really is.  I had a friend who once lost out on a job because he was rude to the person who answered the phone.  Well, it turned out that the woman who answered the phone was not a receptionist, she was the radio station’s general manager.

Don’t Waste Time Engaging in Pointless Arguments – Yes, I am talking about arguments on social media.  Based on what I have seen, especially in the last year, you will never change someone’s mind by telling them how wrong they are in a Facebook comment thread.

Take Note of One Good Thing Each Day – The last year has been rough for nearly everyone.  In a lot of ways, it has been downright depressing.  And, even once the world returns to normal, there will always be bad days.  That is why it is important to always remember to focus on the positive.  Take a minute or so each day to take note of one good thing that happened that day.  It could be anything.  Hanging out with a friend, having a good meal, or going for a walk.

Go Easy On The Alcohol – Obviously, it’ll be a few years before you can legally drink, but it’s worth mentioning.  Drink in moderation.  Yes, when you are 21, go out an have fun with your friends, but don’t drink too much.  It'l only lead to problems with your family, friends, work (thanks to people snapping pics and posting them on social media - don't ask), or the law.

I hope this advice helps you avoid some of the mistakes I made.

I'll see you soon!

Love,

Dad

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