I once wrote a story titled “Who’s in Charge.” It was directed to parents on how to raise their children in their house. Remember what your parents used to say to you: “As long as you are under my roof, you will follow my rules!” Not so much in today’s world.

A mother wrote to say that she cut the story out and put it on her refrigerator door so her teenagers could see it every day. A couple I know who raised two fine boys into two fine men sent me an article that they felt would help other parents raise their boys. I think it is important enough to reprint below.

Rules to Teach Your Sons

Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
Don’t enter a pool by the stairs.
The man at the barbecue grill is the closest thing to a king.
In a negotiation, never take the first offer.
Request the late checkout.
When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
Play with passion or don’t play at all.
Always protect your siblings.
Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.
Carry two clean handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
You marry the girl, you marry her family.
Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
Experience the serenity of traveling alone.
Never be afraid to ask out the best-looking girl in the room.
Never turn down a breath mint.
A sport coat is worth 1,000 words.
Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
Stand on principle.
Eat lunch with the new kid.
After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.
Manners make the man.
Give credit. Take the blame.
Stand up to bullies. Protect those bullied.
Write down your dreams.
Remember, at times the rain must fall for us to appreciate the sun.
Be confident and humble at the same time.
Be a bridge builder.
If ever in doubt, remember whose son you are and refuse to be just ordinary.

A Few More That May Help

A firm handshake goes a long way.
Nobody likes a snitch.
Sign your name in your best penmanship. Remember, it’s your name.
Look directly into people’s eyes when you are talking to them.
Never get the extended warranty.
Check to see if your fly is open.
Look under the hood of your car.
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
Before you go out, ask your mom how you look.
Always make your parents proud of you.

Well, there it is. If your son (or daughter) walks away with even one of these life skills, he or she will be a better person for it. Now cut this out and put it on your refrigerator.

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