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July 08, 2009


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If my daughter came home with a man like you, I'd be over the moon. My own mother always told me that you can tell how a man will treat a woman by the way he speaks to children. That was the best advice she ever gave me. I was fortunate to have had a man like that once but that's a story I'll save for another day.

Buck Daddy

I write called 2024 Rules for My Daughter. It is 2024 bc that is when she turns 18. Some of these I wish I had though of.



I have two daughters, I am sure some of your advices I can pass on to them when they grow up. One is 7 yr and the other is 1 yr old. But how I wish my Father was also like you, giving such advices.

keep up the good work



I wish that I were lucky enough to have a father or a husband like you. I know you like to come across as sarcastic and funny but your inner goodness always shines through.

Mamma Mia! Me a Mamma?!?

Dear MD, this post was awesome (all your posts are, but then you so know that already).

You've inspired me to write up a list for my boys and I will borrow ideas from your list, if you don't mind.

There's a lot I wish my parents had told me, but one VERY important piece of advice I plan on sharing with my boys, is this: marry someone you're friends with.


My dad was a dick - and continues to be. Sucks. Have had to create my own set of rules, norms, secrets of the universe. My kids now get overly inundated with "life's lessons" at far too early an age. The other night I was explaining to my daughter how to rent a car online - to find the coupon codes, match upgrade options, play reservations off each other - then it dawned on me. She's only six fucking years old. I think I just needed an audience. :)


My father always told me not to compare myself to others. I'll never be satisfied that way. Treasured it hell lot in university.


"Wear Sunscreen"


Pl avoid sex before marriage . be truthful to your lover and husband.


If you meet the right man and he's "the one," you'll know. Find the kind of man that you would be proud of if he were your son. Sounds weird, I know, but it's the best advice that my mom ever gave me.

Nina Lawson

The best advice that I learned from my parents was taught by example, not words. That advice is to make sure the person you marry is your best friend and who you could openly talk to about anything. They should know. They just celebrated their 50th anniversary together!


"When you realize that everyone comes from a dysfunctional family, life gets a little easier and you feel a little less crazy. The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well."

I wish someone had taught me that when I was a teenage girl.

the new girl

I have to say is that this list is SO much better than the Supah-Barfy one hanging in my OB's office.

You need to get this shit printed up ASAP, yo.


• Always call on Mother's Day
• Nice girls get STDs
• Never date a cheap man
• For boys: Strike first and strike hard
• Never make important decisions when angry or hungry
• Listen first and speak second
• Dream big; always set goals, both big & small


When I got held back a year at college in Singapore,I decided to pack up and do uni elsewhere.

The Mothership told me to go ahead,the world was my oyster.

My dad told me,"always fight your demons,or they will come back to haunt you"

I'm halfway through and I still ask myself what if i'd stayed and finished what I had started.


My dad taught me patience is a virtue. By the way, I didn't read the entire list. . . I just wanted to read the conclusion.


Be honest, fair, and kind in your professional life and in the long run you'll come out ahead.

Never pass up a chance to show the people you love how you feel about them.

A small, thoughtful, unique gift is 100 times more special than something big, showy, and expensive.


I feel you # 13....

mama without instructions

I am too tired to add at this moment but #20 is nothing short of profound. I have never seen it expressed quite as such and wish I had figured that out before my 30s. Lucky Peanut to have you!


I never got any advice from my mom, I didn't have a dad. You're a good man for doing this. I have three daughters and I printed this list for them. I would add to it:

Always accept a compliment with a simple thank you.

Pick your battles.

Get an education, then a career, then a marriage, then kids. In that order.


The best advice that my Dad has ever given me is either they will get over it . . . or they won't.


This is a great list of advice. I'm passing it on to all the parents I know.

Alison F.

Thanks MD. You might want to check out this blog with a very similar vein:



It's so refreshing hearing about parenthood from the father's perspective. I just discovered your blog and have been combing through your archives all day. You're a great writer but you're an even better father. Keep up the great work!


from my dad: "never go on a date without enough cash to get home by yourself if you need to"


One of my favorites from my mom : "Don't marry somebody that you can live with but marry somebody you can't live without."


I think these are excellent lessons for adults, too. So if you're ok with it, I will add this post to the Cool Fins of the Month (at the end of July).


Why does it seem that the advice so many moms gave their daughters were on how to pick a good husband? (mine included.) Mom's advice regarding men was that it's easy to find a good man when times are good. The key is finding a good man when times are tough. I've never forgotten those words of wisdom and it's helped me a lot during my life.


From my Dad:
1. Always do the scheduled maintenance on your car.
2. Use your mirrors..that's what they are for. (He was a mechanic...can you tell?)
From my Mom:
1. Get an education so you can support yourself.
2. Birth control pills are your friend. Use them.
(She didn't do either...again, can you tell?)
From my Grandma:
1. God is watching.
(And now that she's dead, so is she)

I took each piece of advice and took it to heart. I hope my daughter gets as much use out of them as I did.
Thanks for the awesome post!


My dad was short on the advice, but my mom picked up the slack. She always said always spend the good money on shoes, beds, cookware and cars. Make sure you get your money's worth.


When I was in college, my mother once yelled across the airport at me in Mandarin, "DON'T GET PREGNANT!" She is full of advice, but needs to work on tact and location.


This is quite possibly THE BEST post I've ever read. I loved every single advice... :)

This is mine: Be nice not because other people are nice but because YOU are. I know this is cheesy but if you live by it, your life will be a lot less miserable than most people's.


if i ever have a daughter (im 19) i want to tell her to never, ever iron her nylon underwear.

my dad always told me to be independent and learn how to do things myself. and even though it used to frustrate me to bits, im grateful everyday for it.


ok. maybe it wasnt nylon, but it was icky and gooey and stuck to the iron like crazy.


These could equally be life lessons for adults. Great list, MD. Thanks for writing this.


If you tell one lie, you'll have to tell another 20 to cover the first one up.

You can become whatever you want in life, and I will be happy as long as you do your very best to be the best you can.

Change your oil and rotate your tires.

Amy Sue Nathan

My advice to my kids is learn how to make decisions. Wishy washy is never good -- and give people the benefit of the doubt until they give you a reason not to.

Hold the door. For anyone.

Always say good bye, good night and I love you.


My mom always gave me advice wrapped in some Vietnamese proverb. For example:

When you eat the fruit, remember the person who planted the tree.

A fish that doesn't eat salt becomes rotten. (This one usually accompanied a spanking.)

My dad? He just wanted me to develop telepathy. Instead of developing the ability myself, I've deferred to my husband.


My dad had one lovely saying that he would break out when we did something he found distasteful - "White people don't act like that." I love my dad, but I'm often ashamed of him. I cringe when I think of the possibility that I might have ever repeated such things when I was too young to see through them.


I love your mention of thank you cards. I write them religiously after I receive a gift. My children will too. Being appreciative is huge with me.

Also, although I can't think of a smart way to say it, but you should be attending many funerals. You should pay your respects to people that you know that have died or if you care about the people affected by their death. I've been to many funerals where I didn't know the person, but their child or brother, etc. It is hugely important to me that you show you care in these tough times.

Respect police officers. There are only a few that take their power to the extreme. The rest have chosen that their goal will be to protect you. That is an amazing thing. When a police officer is killed in the line of duty, it is a horrible, horrible thing.


From my mom just 3 weeks after the birth of my first daughter: Your life is what you make it; make it fun.

From me to my own kids: Responsibility is doing the right thing, *especially* when no one is looking.


My aunt always tells us girls, Love a man who loves you more than you love yourself.


Awesome post. Sadly, I think you only appreciate the wisdom of some advice through experiencing those mistakes yourself. Hindsight is 20/20.


I'll never forget the advice my grandmother gave me when I left for college. Not, "Study Hard", "Stay out of Trouble", etc.

No, she says, "Remember, once you go black you never go back."

I still don't know if she was encouraging me or discouraging me to date black guys!


Van Halen, not Van Hagar.
so important.


ALWAYS do what you say you're going to do. And drink beer out of a glass; you look like less of a redneck that way.


I have to say, knowing what I do about what your dad went through & where his sacrifices got you, it sucks that you are frequently unkind to him on this blog.


When fashion designers actually make a shoe that will properly fit my size 7 1/2 EEEE foot, I will quit wearing crocs...Until then, life is too short to wear completely uncomfortable shoes. (and since I only wear mine about 70% of the time, have I only given up on life about 70%??)

Other than that, I love your advice.


Great list, MD.

My father was not around. My mother raised me. She didn't offer too much advice, but we talked. I learned a lot from her. A lot of things she taught me are on your list.

What I passed to my boys:

It does not matter who you date or marry. It matters who you have children with. Crazy mates make crazy children.

Once you have a child, the life you knew is over. Your primary responsibility is to take care of that baby.

Never be the one who starts a fight, but make sure you finish it.

With freedom, comes great responsibility.

From my mom, (before she passed):
Life comes atcha fast. Be prepared.


Choose carefully who you will hug, then hug as though you mean it.

Keep your thumb outside of your fist.

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