Trust me when I tell you that one day you’ll look back and realize you judged people unfairly and you held strong to convictions only to end up changing your mind about in the light of life experience. Leave a little space open for second impressions or the possibility that you could be wrong.


Spread kindness like confetti.

12, 21

They’re very teachable at this age. When behavior is bad, send to their room for a brief “time-out.” Then go get them by sitting and putting him/her on your lap. Talk (1-3 sentences) about why we don’t behave that way and how I expect you to behave instead. Then hugs and kisses. If the offense is really bad, introduce consequences (which have to be immediate, they wont understand missing out on something hours from now, won’t make the connection.)


Grandpa didn’t drink coffee, but when he was in Korea he used to drink it just so he could hold the cup and keep his hands warm. (During the Korean War be enlisted in the Marines with a bunch of his buddies right after high school.)

14, 21

“First things first!” It’s a constant struggle to get out of the house or complete a task. Hammer home “first things first!” After they’re dressed (or whatever task) THEN they can have screen time or playtime free-time, etc.


Work towards your goal. If you screw-up, fix it. The worst thing you could do is give up just because you made a mistake. Nobody’s perfect. Keep going!

14, 19

No one knows what they’re doing. Just be kind and brave and curious. You don’t have to have it figured out.


Always hold the door open for the next person.



Respect people’s boundaries / quirks. Someone who “doesn’t fly” may have fear of enclosed spaces due to anxiety or past trauma. Someone who doesn’t drink may have had a parent who was an abusive alcoholic. Don’t laugh, question or prod. If they want to talk about it, fine. Otherwise just accept their boundaries.

15, 21

Kindness is magic.

11, 15, 21

Compete for the last meatball at Sunday dinner: Biggest burp, telling the best story, finished vegetables first, etc.


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.



Pick a project on and work on it together this winter.


Professor Scott Galloway’s advice: Paraphrasing his standard wedding toast: “1. Express affection and desire. Everyone wants to be wanted. It’s healthy and it is part of what makes your relationship singular. 2. Never let your wife / girlfriend be hungry or cold. Two thirds of the really awful arguments you’ll have it’s because someone is hungry or cold. Carry blankets and protein bars. (You’re welcome.) 3. Don’t keep score. Decide what kind of friend / son / daughter / spouse / employee / human being you want to be, and practice being that. Put the scorecard away.”


You're about to come into a ton of energy and strength. It will seem like a lot to manage at first, but you'll get used to it and learn to use it constructively. Push your limits (within reason.) Challenge yourself.


Universal Studios


“Where you stand depends on where you sit.” It means your personal situation informs your stance on issues. Try to imagine how you’d vote if you were sitting at a less privileged place.

15, 21

Give books. Inscribe them. Just a line or two can turn a good book into a treasure. Great for any occasion.


Not knowing what you’re doing is a lot less terrifying than not knowing who to trust.

14, 19, 21

Challenge: Memorize and recite The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus.


Read “Attack of the Black Rectangles” by Amy Sarid King.


Let’s talk about hungry kids. What can we do to help? Donate? Volunteer? Start a Little Free Pantry?



Visit the Grand Canyon together


“Your life unfolds in proportion to your courage.” -Danielle Le Port

15, 18

Try not to confuse excess with quality. It’s okay not to have the biggest house on the block. It’s okay not to drive the fanciest car.


Spend time with people you admire, in person and biographies, documentaries, novels and movies.

14-17, 21

Ask smart questions. More importantly, ask stupid questions! So many people are afraid of looking stupid that they totally fake understanding. Even in the very highest levels of career and society. Ask basic questions if something doesn’t make sense. Start at a kindergarten level understanding of a concept then build on it.

15, 20

Kitchen knife skills. Know how to properly and safely cut, slice, chop, dice, carve, etc.

15, 21

Re-Read "Girls and Sex: Navigating the New Landscape" by Peggy Orenstein.


Jumper cables 101