There are many rule books designed to teach proper behavior, from The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing (actually a novel), to The Dangerous Book for Boys, to the 17th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette (which is quite amusing at times, especially the part about dessert spoons). If you are like most modern families, however, reading vasty tomes of arcane knowledge designed to teach you how to live properly only happens when a snappy title from the bestseller list catches your eye (see, e.g., such stellar examples as Lose Weight Now!; How to Make Friends and Influence People; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; Awaken the Giant Within; and The One-Minute Manager).
Putting the best-selling pablum aside, apart from generational favorites such as The Bible, or Paul Tillich’s luminous writings, there is really no widely-disseminated guide that teaches young girls how to behave in a world gone mad (MTV does not count). Personally, I find this to be a tragedy, and will now share with you some of the bon mots I have taught my girls to live by:
(1) Always lean in for the headbutt
(2) Reading rules
(3) Drinking is for dummies
(4) Chet Baker is the Elvis of jazz
(5) Smoking kills
(6) Golf is actually a sport
(7) Television makes you stupid
(8) Boys are gross
(9) Tae kwon do is for girls
(10) Pizza is God’s gift to man
(11) Paris is made for walking
(12) And, from the Ballad of Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last!” (Actually, I didn’t teach them that one; they learned it on their own)
What are some of the cherished words of wisdom you’ve seen fit to share with your children? Feel free to share, comment, disagree, argue and otherwise be disputatious — just remember to abide by Broughton’s Rules for gentlemanly conduct in the arena (e.g., no gouging).
I am a commercial litigator and intellectual property lawyer in Orange County. Although my practice encompasses a wide variety of business disputes, I have a particular fondness for, and am prone to wax philosophical on, the subjects of copyright and trademark infringement in music, literature, art, and film.