Five Simple Rules For My Sons

I was just reading BuckDaddy‘s 2024 Rules for My Daughter and thought it would be a good idea to compose a set of rules for my sons when they turn 18.  So here goes (in no particular order):

Learn to be self-sufficiant.

Before college, I was reliant on my parents for everything.  My mother did my laundry, cooked my meals, and cleaned the house.  I contributed little to nothing as my mother took the entire burden on herself.  Once I moved off to college, I started cooking and cleaning for myself.  I even did my own laundry.  After college, I moved back in with my parents for a bit.  Looking back, one of my big regrets is that I didn’t do enough to help out around the house.  My mother offered to do my laundry and I accepted the offer.  Pretty soon, I was back to being reliant on them for everything.  (With the exception that this time I had a job and my own car.)

B and I aren’t going to model our household after my parents’ house.  I’m not going to come home from work, sit down on the couch, and ask when dinner’s going to be ready.  In fact, I’m the one who does most of the cooking.  I honestly enjoy trying new recipes out.  As our boys get older, they will share in the household chores.  It will better prepare them for when they live on their own or with their future girlfriends and/or wives.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

This is something I’m constantly telling NHL now.  He’ll push someone or grab JSL’s neck.  When I stop him, I ask him whether he would like it if someone did that to him.  Of course, he answers that he wouldn’t.  I’ve found in life that you should always treat people the way that you would want to be treated.  Sometimes, it isn’t easy.  People can be rude and cruel at times.  During those times, it is even more important to stay civil and treat those people nicely.  This doesn’t mean that you need to let people walk all over you, but you can be cordial while you hold your ground.

Follow your traditions.

Your heritage is a very important thing.  Because we are Jewish, there are certain traditions that we follow.  We go to temple during Jewish holidays.  We celebrate Chanukah and not Christmas.  And, because I’m more traditional, we keep Kosher in the home.  (We’ll bring in non-Kosher foods, but we eat them using paper dishes and plastic utensils.)  To me, following your religious traditions is very important.  I will leave it to my boys just how much they will follow them.  They might go to Temple every day for morning minyan, might only attend on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, or anywhere in between.  It’s their choice.  About the only thing that would disappoint me would be if they decided to follow another religion’s traditions.  This leads to…

Respect the traditions of others.

Just because you follow your traditions, doesn’t mean you need to put down or make fun of the traditions of others.  In some ways, this falls under "Treat others the way you want to be treated," but I feel it’s important enough to be separate.  Just because your religion is the right path for you, it doesn’t mean that it is the right path for everyone.  You should never force your religious beliefs onto others.  Finally, even if a person’s traditions seem strange to you, don’t make fun of you.  After all, some of your traditions likely seem strange to others.

Strive to leave this world a little better than it was before you.

Like the last rule, this could be grouped under "Treat others the way you want to be treated." It means doing something to help those less fortunate than you.  It means so much more than that, though.  Striving to leave the world a little better means generally acting like a good citizen.  If you have trash, don’t just toss it in the street.  Instead, wait until a garbage can can be used.  If you are done with a shopping cart, don’t just leave it in the middle of the parking lot where it could roll into other cars.  Instead, put it in the cart corral.  Don’t make a mess and just assume that someone else will clean it up for you.

I think if everyone followed those five simple rules, the world would be a better place.