Life lessons for a soon to be teen, what would you suggest?

I got an interesting email the other day from a long time friend whose son Jack is turning 13 at the end of the week.  His Mom is Sarbal who comments here from time to time.  She wants to put together a “Calimitzvah” book for him on life lessons as part of his birthday celebration.

Pretty cool idea.  I’m partly stumped on what to put together for him.   I’ve known Jack since almost the time he entered this world.  He’s a smart kid, certainly smarter than he realizes.  Like a lot of kids he’d prefer to do what is needed to pass, his parents hold him accountable for reaching his potential.   There isn’t much he wants for, but little has been handed to him.  His parents are many ways like my family, its more about giving them life experiences than crap that will just sit in a corner.  Jack’s Dad has taken him to Coachella a couple of times already on top of the travel. He wants for little when it comes to life experiences with his Mom or Dad.  What else can I add for him?

Sarbal’s message earlier this week: “Jack marks the entry into his teenage years on Friday, August 22nd.  To help celebrate this momentous occasion, Mike and I need your help.

We are asking each of you to email, or snail mail (if you prefer), 13 pieces of advice or life lessons   for him to reference  in the years ahead.  They can be whatever you’d  like: one liners, serious items,  quips, pet peeves, do’s and don’ts, health and nutrition, political advice,, the Ten Commandments, the only limit is your imagination.

I am going to put them all together in a moleskin book for him to keep. We’ll call this his Calimitzvah book – lessons on becoming a man. A tradition you get from your loved ones at age 13.”

My thoughts are more one liners, but what else can I add?  Jack does have a sense of humor so I can get snarky too, but some of it has to be serious.

  • if you have to ask for respect you haven’t earned it
  • follow the path of greatest curiosity
  • from Eleanor Roosevelt “Every day do something that scares you”
  • learn something new every day
  • start each day with the intention of being a messenger of peace
  • opposites attract, like-minded drive each others nuts trying to be on top
  • moderation is the key to everything
  • keep a white sock tucked between the mattress for those times you can’t get to the bathroom
  • keep the emotions in check, think before acting on impulse
  • better the doorman than the doormat
  • just surviving isn’t living

Your suggestions?  I think it is a pretty nifty idea to give a young man in So Cal his own set of life lessons to take with him into adulthood here in LA?

13 thoughts on “Life lessons for a soon to be teen, what would you suggest?”

  1. Um, Fraz? Do I want to know why you keep a sock tucked between the mattress?

    I would add:

    Ask everyone how they got to where they are. Learn from their mistakes. Remember that you don’t have to get a goal the same way as anyone else.

    Be different. Be proud of being different.

    Taking risks is scary, but the scarier it is, the greater the reward.

    When you find your one and only, pray with her every night. :)

  2. Darlene…the white sock is for cleaning up after a wet dream, he’s approaching that age.

    The taking risks is what Eleanor is talking about.

    I like the be different and be proud of being different. Sheesh I live that one and didn’t even think to ad it.

  3. Sarbal reads and comments here,
    I live here, He lives here, born here and another host of heres about a young man approaching adulthood in LA?

  4. How about:

    People want to like you, and usually will until you give them a reason not to.


    People like to talk about themselves. Ask questions.

    These two rules will combat shyness and allow you to get along with just about anyone.

  5. Short term — High school and the teen age years are just a few short years out of decades of life, in other words, this too shall pass, in more other words, just be patient if life doesn’t seem to be going your way.
    (Personally I loved high school, but I knew there was so much beyond it, just waiting for me.)

    Try everything, be curious.


  6. How about:

    It’s not gonna matter how “popular” you are in High School.

    All the “popular” kids from my HS back in Philly now are exotic dancers, have 3 kids, or work at Wal-Mart.

    I didn’t go to the prom, had bad social skills, and girls didn’t like me – and, ten years later, I received 11% of the vote in Pasadena and am its Most Electrifying Man.

    The Proc says high school is its own dimension:

    – AP

  7. If you get caught up in something, don’t fight the riptide. Let it carry you until it’s safe to get out, or else you may make things worse.

  8. Continue to say “Please” and “Thank You”. It never gets old and people appreciate it.

    Don’t burn a bridge as you may need to cross it again later on down the road.

    Trust your intuition and feelings when decision making. If you make a mistake, log the feeling and use it when youre put in a similar situation in the future.

    Worry about others feelings but don’t harp on them. Yours really are the most important.

  9. Open doors and pull out chairs for women.
    Yes sirs and No mams too
    Don’t bother with drugs and alchohol in your teen years (plenty of time for that later)
    While premarital sex is OK, understand that it distorts your view of the relationship
    Anyone who says condoms don’t feel good is using them wrong.
    If you have them, don’t let your study habits fall off. If you don’t have them, learn to study – it will help you thru life more than anything else you learn in school
    Turn off the TV
    Learn to fight (fists and words). You might never need it, but the confidence that comes with being able to give and take in that kind of situation gives you confidence you can’t get anywhere else
    Pick your head up and look around – not only will you spot danger before it is on you, you will see all the beautiful things in life too
    Make a plan and set goals – without it, you are just wishing on a star. And you can always adjust as needed.

  10. Fraz,
    Wow! I am thrilled with the response and will use everything for Jack’s “CaliMitvah” book. I know that people in LA have a certain attitude unique to the geography. Jack can only benefit from their musings, suggestions, recommendations and experience.This is why we live here. You see, I am not asking anyone from the Bible Belt or Virginias.

    Fraz us right, he wants for not. He plays guitar, has been around the world a few times ( but not to Disney world) We’d rather show our kids the real deal than take them to some fake version of it. He is a certified soccer referee, so no allowance here, he buys his own stuff, and has a 3.5 GPA. We expect excellence not perfection. Honesty and accountablity are huge in our home. We parent the “old fashioned way”.

    He will have hundreds of friends during his lifetime, but only one mom and dad-who, for the next few years, he will most likely come to despise. While sulking in his room, perhaps he’ll glance through this book and some random nugget will resonate with him. I’ll never know. It’s a helluva lot better than some bullshit “purpose driven life” or “how to talk with your parents” book, that kids are given these days. So, from the bottom of my heart, Thank You to all who have chimed in. Sarbal

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