I’m not quite ready to have children, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t sometimes imagine how my life would be.
I sort of want one of each — but who doesn’t? I will admit that I’m a bit more worried about raising a girl than I am a boy. It’s a tough world out there for women.
Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty I plan on teaching and sharing with my son, but I have a special list just for my daughter.
I’m most definitely going to be one of those protective fathers, but, first and foremost, I plan on teaching her to take care of herself. Here are 55 things I want my daughter to know:
1. The world is a big place — you should dedicate some time to exploring it.
2. Smile and laugh any chance you find an excuse to do so. It’s really good for the soul. And your health.
3. There’s no need to rush growing up — time flows on ad infinitum. One day, you’ll be doing your best to slow it down.
4. Your health is most important. Always be sure to take good care of yourself.
5. Your family will always be there for you, so don’t be afraid to talk to us.
6. Being your own person is the only way to live a happy life. Think for yourself and make your own decisions.
7. Logic is the most important tool in the world. It’s what differentiates humans from the rest of the animals, and the successful individuals from those who never manage to learn the necessary life lessons.
8. Not everyone’s opinion matters, but you should still listen. If anything, you’ll learn one more way not to approach the situation.
9. Violence is almost always unnecessary — almost. You’ll hopefully never find yourself in a situation where you will have to defend yourself, but you should be prepared regardless.
10. Racism, sexism and discrimination are never acceptable.
11. All human beings deserve to be respected. Unless, of course, they fail to show you the respect you deserve.
12. There are plenty of good people in the world, but there are also plenty of bad people. Never assume one is the other until you have enough information, but always be prepared for the worst.
13. Observation is the key to understanding the world around us. Take the time to look around you and understand the environment you’re living in.
14. Always think at least two steps ahead. Don’t only consider the consequences of your actions, but also the consequences of those consequences.
15. You should always have an exit strategy — for any and every scenario.
16. Figuring out what you want to do with your life isn’t a one-time decision; it’s something we decide every hour of every day, our entire lives.
17. Be kind to animals. They’re not human, but they are conscious, living things. They think and they feel. They aren’t as different from humans as humans would like to believe.
18. In life, you should question everything.
19. It’s all right if you don’t know something. Just ask. It only takes a second to learn a fact.
20. Intelligence is the most valued quality in the universe.
21. Women are not only just as smart as men, they’re smarter than most men.
22. Women don’t need men.
23. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. If you like women, then enjoy their company.
24. You’re free to believe in whatever religion you wish to believe in.
25. Reading is both incredibly important and enjoyable.
26. If you want to learn to understand life, then study philosophy and the sciences.
27. When you go to college, don’t worry about what you’re going to do afterward. Pick the classes you enjoy and learn what you enjoy learning. The rest we’ll figure out later.
28. Networking makes success much easier to come by.
29. Friends are important to have, but a lot of people make poor friends.
30. You should wait until you’re in love to have sex. I’m not saying it to keep you away from sex. I’m saying it because you’ll almost certainly wish you had waited.
31. Sex can be a lot of fun with the right individual. But with the wrong individual, it’ll make you feel worse than you have ever felt in your life.
32. Until the age of about 25, 99 percent of boys just want to get into your pants.
33. You should both love and protect your siblings. It may be difficult at times, but if you guys build a strong bond with each other, you’ll appreciate it later in life.
34. Drinking can be fun, but it’s dangerous. Always drink responsibly and only with people you trust.
35. The same goes for drugs — fun, but dangerous. Some you should never try and others you should only try if you feel you need to. Never do drugs regularly.
36. You always want to know the source of the product. This goes for just about everything.
37. Always use condoms and birth control. Never risk catching an STD and don’t have a child until you’re ready.
38. Never drive impaired. Ever.
39. You should always wear a seatbelt and never text or talk and drive.
40. Generally speaking, avoid permanent injury and/or death at any and every cost.
41. Love is both the most beautiful and the ugliest thing in the universe.
42. When you find someone you love so much and you can imagine yourself spending the rest of your life with him or her, never let him or her go. You may feel scared or worried, you may want to push your love away and run, but don’t do it. Otherwise, you may end up regretting that decision for the rest of your life.
43. You don’t need to get married, but you do need to find a life partner. Thankfully, there’s no rush. The longer you have to wait to find that special someone, the more you’ll hopefully appreciate it once you do.
44. You should never settle for being someone’s trophy. Always follow your passions.
45. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a housewife or a CEO — as long as you are pursuing what makes you happy.
46. Never marry for anything but love — and be sure that it’s love. You don’t want to have to go through divorce.
47. It’s OK to get a divorce if you married the wrong person. You should never stay married because you feel you need to. This can get messy when there are children involved, but if done maturely and delicately, it could be for the best.
48. You are the one who designs your life — nobody else.
49. Remember: If you want something badly enough, you’ll get it. But never assume that it will fall into your lap; you’re going to have to work for it.
50. You should forgive people when you can, but it’s understandable if sometimes you can’t.
51. The best way to live life is with an open mind.
52. It’s always best to avoid regretting. Take risks and make mistakes if you can’t avoid them. You won’t know unless you try.
53. It’s our responsibility to ensure the continuance of life on this planet — and not just human life.
54. Never settle for the life you’re currently living if it’s not the life you want. As long as there is a tomorrow, there is a chance for a better future.
55. All it takes to change your life is deciding you’re going to do so. If you change your mind later, then you never really decided to change your life in the first place.