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July 08, 2009


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This is some of the best advice from a parent I've ever read. I only wish someone had taught me these things when I was younger. Thanks, MD!

Jack D.

My dad's best advice was to never skimp on good liquor, a good umbrella, and a good pair of shoes. That's pretty much it though.


Don't eat the yellow snow.


If it's too much to carry in one trip, you've packed too much (or when he's cross, "IF YOU CAN'T CARRY IT, YOU DON'T NEED IT")

Ian Franklin

My dad worked owned an electronics store when I was growing up. He was a man of few words. I think the only advice he gave me was "only suckers pay for the extended warranty."


The Peanut is lucky to have you as her father. I think my life would have turned out differently if either of my parents had ever cared enough to give me any advice.


if it's not at least 50% off, it's not on sale.


Follow your instincts and try not to get in your way with too much thinking.


My dad has given me a lot of good advice, but the best (though by far the most awkward) was: "Always remember that a stiff d*ck has no conscience."

Molly Chase

My father never gave me any advice. And my mother gave me lots of grief that passed for advice in her book.

But the advice I'd give my kids would be to be nice to people even if they don't really deserve it. It's not hard, it will make you feel good, and it might turn somebody around.


If you have some extra cash right now, save some of it, because you're going to need it later.


I agree with all but the Crocs statement and then only if you're an RN are they okay! As a critical care RN you have to have comfy shoes you are willing to part with if a patient decides to part with a bodily fluid on said shoes.

Here's some advice I want to pass on to my sons:

Always let people getting off the elevator, train, subway go first then you can get on.

Never return a plate of food given to you empty (unless a family member has passed)

Never pass up a chance to say I love you and spend time with those that are important to you.

If you are having fun and not bugging anyone else then that's all that matters.


You're the boss of your own happiness/life/circumstance, so make good choices.


2 ironic rules:

1) Treat others as you would like to be treated.

2) People are crazy.


My dad raised four girls, all of whom he taught that "Pretty ain't enough."

Nothing But Bonfires

I heard a great one the other day: Never push a person off a dock. God, so true!

These are all excellent; rules to live by, for sure.

Tyler - Building Camelot

My old man never gave me direct instructions on how to live life...everything he taught was by his actions whether they were good or bad. Biggest lesson I've learned from him? Don't let pride get in the way


MD, I love your list. My dad...eh. Forget that one. Mine only taught me how to play, pull my finger.

Here's a few that are on my list:

Always look for the toilet paper before you close the door in a public restroom.

Marry the person who makes you laugh. Looks fade, money is just paper and security is fleeting. At the end of your life, the person you want next to you in a rocking chair, is someone who can make you laugh.

There is no shame in crying.

Laughter really is the best medicine.

Cherish the good friendships and ditch the ones that only cause trouble. There is enough trouble in life, without people making it up.


Great post! It reminded me of this blog which I've been having fun reading lately.

As for my son, I hope he will learn that kindness costs nothing but benefits everyone.


Oops. Here's the link to that blog I mentioned: http://prudentadviceformybabydaughter.blogspot.com/


a good list :)


i wish my dad would STOP giving me advice. the classics of late:

"don't do anything married people do." argue about finances or putting in a new fridge? yeah, ok. done.

"for every THREE times a guy pays for your dinner, you can CONSIDER going dutch ONCE." yes, he used the term "going dutch." it dates him, i know.

i am 26 years old.

wtf, right?


Love it. Great list!

Goofy Mumma

Its such an amazing list, hope you don't mind me picking some for my son. You are a great dad if you have so many pearls of wisdom to pass on. My father had told me , there is no 'my kind' of friend, it is always a friend who is my kind. Makes sense to me. :)


Make up is like jewelry.
You don't need it every day. Some days you need a little. Some days you need a lot.
But . . . you never ever need it to be beautiful.

Laura S

Great list. I'd add something my father has impressed upon his 3 daughters...when meeting someone for the first time, always look them in the eye and give them a good, firm handshake.


Some advice I would give my daughter is definitely #4, adding:

A guy should always pay on the first date. She should absolutely try a few times to split the bill or at least take care of the tip, but if he's second-date-worthy, he should refuse to accept her money. Also, he should open doors for her, even 10 years together later.


I'd be shocked if any Korean fathers of that generation gave any of us any advice. You're breaking the pattern, MD.


My dad taught me: Never lend money to anyone... ever. If someone asks for money and you are willing and able to, give the money as a gift.


My crush on you just got a little bigger. Not solely because of this awesome blog post but because you use words like admonitory and hortative.


Dad's only advice was don't shit where you eat. Yeah, he was quite the philosopher.


I'm passing this on to everyone I know with young kids. This is fantastic.

Nick David

"Lennon, not McCartney. Keith, not Mick. Page, not Plant." Excellent advice. What's your position on U2, Van Halen and the Eagles?


From my mom: "You can't run away from your problems. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you."

From my dad: Always pay cash, always wash the dishes right after the meal, and "Better a smart ass than a dumb ass."


You can't change people no matter how much you want to.

Kevin M.

I wish someone had told me earlier to sleep with as many women as possible in college.

Rachel E.

My mother alaways told me, "You may not have the best of anything but you can make sure that what you do have is clean and well taken care of."

I am trying to drive home three important things to my daughter: One, nothing will destroy your life like drugs. Nothing.

Two, travel, travel, travel - as often as you can. See the world. Don't be content with a "small" life. Live big.

Three, be kind. And never let someone else's bad behavior towards you EVER change who YOU want to be and what you know is true and right for you.


Our rules were:
#1 Don't drink
#2 Don't do drugs, and
#3 No sex before you are married.


My dad's two best piece of advice were "don't be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve" and "think before you speak."


Some I have learned and I hope to pass to my son,

"No one can hurt you without your permission."

"Karma is a bitch."


(20) The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well.

Thank you, Metrodad!!! I knew I wasn't the only one who was secretly very weird :)


The hard way is the easy way


these are great. and mad props for the use of "hortative" in a blog post.

Korean dads rarely gave advice - mine taught by example. if I were to put Americanisms on some of his behaviors, I'd say his main things were 1) if you have to buy it on credit, you can't afford it, 2) good manners never hurt anyone and 3) when in doubt, always try the black diamond slope.

great list MD.

--xh-- aka aNoop

man, this is something I will save for my future kids :)
my dad and me did had lot of the moments, but he never gave me any advices - most of the time, he wanted me to pick up advices from his actions...

we used to do lot of long motor cycles rides together - some days, more than 500 km on a puny 100 cc bike - and I learned about life from those trips more than I can learn from any advice or class.....

the one advice he have given me (which I will follow till my grave) is never bend ur spine - be firm on what you believe - you have one life, live it for the purposes you believe in... never be afraid of people and bend for them...


"Screw it up the first time and you'll never have to do it again... b/c you won't be asked to."

Yeah - I tried testing it once when I cut the grass, deliberately leaving huge gaps of uncut grass in the yard. It didn't work. I just had to cut the grass again.

Geek in Heels

The two best relationship advice I've ever gotten are:

1. Never marry a man unless you are certain you would be proud if you have a son who turns out just like him.

and, from the late Randy Pausch:

2. "When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it's really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do."


Favorite advice from my dad: measure thrice, cut once.
Daily advice for my daughter: "Please" and "thank you" will open doors. Don't just act polite, be polite.


"Always wear clean underwear" was drilled into my head by my mother for years. Not even sure it was advice. More like a demand.

Andrew C.

These are amazing words of wisdom. Solid advice that should be given to most adults I know. Not just children. Thanks for writing this, MD.

creative type dad

My Dad was pretty short on advice too. He used telepathy with his eyes instead.

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