Overflowing toilet 101: Teach how to turn off the water valve and how to plunge. From now on, you break it, you fix it.


Try to avoid the temptation to reach a conclusion too quickly or cling to it too tightly.” (Paraphrasing James Comey from his book ’A Higher Loyalty,’ which I recommend as a fantastic lesson in leadership - and history, and public service.)


Considering taking meds for your mental health but concerned about the side effects? Consider the side effects of *not* taking them! Meds don’t turn you into someone you’re not, they lift the murky fog around your brain so you can be more yourself. It’s the depression that changes you. Meds just help you get rid of the fog.

18, 21

Encourage creativity, science and engineering: Make a craft station / work bench for projects. Fill it with all kinds of art supplies, engineering kits, tools, pegboard, etc. Stock safety equipment like goggles and make sure the area has good lighting. Lots of ideas on Pinterest, etc.


Stand up (or sit up) straight in photos. Don’t slouch or lean. (You can touch or be close but don’t lean in.)

12, 14, 21

“Bullies are scared people hiding inside scary people.” -Michelle Obama


Build a treehouse together


There are things you should not say: Never comment or ask a woman about her age or weight. Never comment on how many kids someone has (or doesn’t have.) The size, timing, composition, etc of someone else’s family is not your business to weigh in on. You never know who is struggling with loss or infertility, etc. And if someone announces they are expecting their seventh kid, the only correct response is “Congratulations” “How are you feeling?” etc. Just like you would if it was their first. Never ask someone how much weight they lost. If they’ve lost weight, just say “You look wonderful/amazing/ fantastic, etc.” And of course never comment on anyone having gained weight. Just say “You look wonderful.” And never never never ask someone how much money they earn or how much money they have, or how much they owe or paid for something, etc. People’s finances are personal, and are just not any of your business.

15, 20



Sometimes our bodies can betray us. Something goes wrong and healthy cells are replaced with broken cells: Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune diseases, etc. Mental health can become diseased too: Depression, anxiety, compulsive behavior, suicidal thoughts. The very good news is that good medical care is available for all of these things. That, along with the love and support of family and friends helps our bodies to heal. Physical illness is obvious. Sometimes people keep their mental pain a secret. Please promise me you’ll never keep any pain you’re going through a secret.


Parent the way you want your children to behave. Compassion, patience. Loving.

1, 2, 3, 4

To my boys: Personally I believe the boy / man should pay when out on a date. Always be prepared to pay - but sometimes a girl / woman wants to pay or split the check. Don’t push back on that. Make sure she knows it would be your pleasure to pay because you want to show her a good time and spoil her, but that you understand that paying a check doesn’t put her in your debt. Instead, your motto should be “If you’re comfortable, I’m comfortable.” And that goes for a lot of categories including sex/ physical contact. And to my girls: Always be prepared to pay, offer to pay often. It’s a sad fact that some men feel they’re owed something if they spring for dinner. On a date you are never obligated to do or say anything you don’t want to. Never.

16, 21

Look into going to college abroad. Research international universities. Spain, Netherlands, etc.

15, 16

When they turn 18 they should have a will, a financial power of attorney and a medical PoA.


Enroll in a CPR course. Re-certify every year.


Teach tuck to drive


I hope you find a partner with who are your most authentic self, and who you love for who they genuinely are.

15, 21

You don’t have to be friends with people you don’t like. But you can’t decide you don’t like someone unless you get to know them. (Rather than a look or a reputation or a difference, etc.)


Sad but important fact: You’ll never be enough for some people. Never. -Chasten Buttigieg


Be a good guest. Never arrive to a dinner or a party empty handed. Bring a gift: flowers, food, drink, etc.


Be open to the possibility that you might be wrong.

12, 14, 17, 21

Two years after Trump lost re-election I still struggle to understand how anyone could support him, to say nothing of work for him. But then it came to me: being close to power is intoxicating. It makes people feel important and accepted, which are things very few of us ever, though we all long to, feel. I recalled how very much I longed for this type of acceptance for most of my career. I *loved* being included in meetings with the CEO. I loved having a access and influence. It was so validating, so satisfying! Looking back I’m embarrassed, even ashamed about how much of a fan girl I was. (Don’t get me wrong! Ambition and drive are good things! But I was more concerned with being perceived as important than I was in substance or actual effort.) All this to say, be mindful of the lure of being in the “it” group. We all crave the acceptance and approval. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a seat at the table, just pay more attention to be table than the seat. If you had a chance to work in the Whitehouse for Donald Trump, would you? Would you trade your values for power?

15, 21

Golf lessons this year. Your grandpa loved golf. He tried to teach me when he first got sick, and those are some of my best memories of him. Great way to get fresh air and exercise too.


“The flower does not dream of the bee. It blossoms


Hold yourself to account when you screw up but give yourself some grace. Instead of “I’m such a terrible person” ask yourself “”How can I make up for this? What can I learn from this? How can I do better next time?”

10, 12, 15, 19

Go on a tour of the Kennedy Center. Free guided tours through Friends of the Kennedy Center.


Read maps.


Family trip to a NASCAR race..


"The only way to work through sh*tty feelings is to walk through sh*tty feelings." - Psychologist Kristen Howe Hard lesson, but big truth.


My favorite actor was Robin Williams.