I gave Becks some advice when starting Kindergarten and most of it is applicable for every grade. But he and Coop got another lesson last night as they were getting ready for bed. Any time we discuss a big topic (racism, homophobia, sexism, democracy), Coop usually listens patiently and then says politely, “That’s a lot of words. I think I got it. I should be nice to people.” Becks always agrees with his brother.
So let’s break down the Basics Coop and Becks Style…
- Be kind.
- Some kids are assholes (look, it’s true and you know it). Walk away from them. If they follow, find a teacher. If that doesn’t work, find a friend. Assholes hate groups.
- Try really hard. If your hardest isn’t cutting it, come to me and we’ll figure out.
- Be kind, Kiddo.
- But if someone isn’t being kind to you, stand up for yourself.
- If you see someone who’s having a hard time standing up for themselves, help them. It’s always easier when someone has your back.
- Doodle whenever you’re allowed to doodle. Your father and I value creativity and it will help you stay quiet. It’s in your genes to talk and teachers aren’t keen about that little genetic trait, so doodle.
- Be you. Being a copy is exhausting and futile.
- Own yourself and never apologize for it.
- Say “please” and “thank you”. People eat those words up. Plus it’s proper. And it makes us look like we did our job. . .
- Don’t whisper around people. It makes those ears not involved feel crappy and left out. If you can’t say it in front of everyone, maybe don’t say it or choose a better place to whisper.
- Shower. Change your underwear. Brush your teeth. And how about we try to comb our hair every day?
- Here’s the big one… Be kind. You’ve got no idea what’s really going on at that kid’s house. Maybe cut him/her some slack. Smile. Ask if they like Minecraft, WWE, Lego’s, and <insert current fad>. Just be kind. Remember when someone was kind to you? Yeah, that felt awesome! Be that awesome for someone.
- You know what? Sometimes life is shitty and unfair. I’m sorry it simply is. But for the most part, life is fantastic and beautiful. Always look for it and when you can’t see it, trust that it will surprise you. Cause it will.
- If you stumble, I’m always right behind you. I got you, Kid.
- I’ve always got you.
I’m positive I missed a dozen basics. Feel free to leave them in the comments.