Major life events such as the birth of a baby, graduations, new job, (lost job) are a big deal. Make a fuss. Take an interest in loved ones’ experiences. Acknowledge their feelings. Express a sincere interest in others (young and old) will profoundly affect your relationships.

15, 19

They are looking for your support, not your solutions. Applies to all ages.

2, 3, 4, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21

Play this every year between 12-21.

12, 14, 16, 21

Enroll in cooking lessons. We'll need to find you someone who knows how to cook. (Don't tell mom I said that.)


Adjust your expectations but never lower your standards.

12, 15, 18, 21

Sex: There's no single way to do it "right" but there are lots of ways to do it wrong. Not being respectful and tender towards your partner is usually at the root of "wrong" ways to do it. Also, there is no rush. You may think all your friends are "doing it." They're not. Take your time.


You will never have to hustle for your self-worth. You are worthy of love and respect simply because you exist. Same goes for every other human.


Google the “tea metaphor” for a discussion about consent.


“When you are not fed love off a silver spoon you will learn to lick it off of knives.” Lauren Eden (poet)

0, 20

No matter how successful you become you’re still expected to act with integrity and respect.

14, 18, 21

“It’s alright to be yourself. There ARE people in this world who will love you.” -Fred Rogers

12, 14, 17, 21

The person who lives in the body gets to say who touches that body.


What I most want to teach you this year is that you can always trust me. I will always love you, take care of you and never harm you. You may not always like me, but you can always trust me.


Here’s one definition of a saint: Someone who isn’t a jerk, doesn’t complain or whine when they’re sick or in pain.

15, 19

You’ll be finished with school soon. The most important thing I hope you learned is that there is still so much yet to learn.


If it makes you happy it doesn't have to make sense to anyone else.

11, 14, 20

Teach car maintenance: Adding air to tires, checking oil, etc.


Speak up when it’s called for: Fight injustice, stand up for others, etc. but shut the F up if you’re thinking about offering an unsolicited opinion or advice about anything you’re not personally an expert in.

12, 16

Practice being okay with someone misunderstanding you. Not everyone is going to “get” you. That’s okay.

14, 19, 21

When you see someone in military uniform, thank them for their service. Hold the door open for them, etc. If they are behind you in line at Starbucks, pay for their coffee. At the very least, look them in the eye and smile - they’ve made a tremendous sacrifice and you should acknowledge that.

12, 16, 21



No one is ever really ready to be a parent. It’s definitely on the job training! But I’ll say this: If you’re prepared to put your family’s needs before your own, you’re as ready as anyone can be.


Look into YMCA “family camp” in PA.


Just let them be who they are. Enjoy getting to know them.


Here’s the thing: some whacky $@!#% is about to go down. The next few years will be interesting, awesome and awful all at once. We will rely on kind and respectful communication, have as much fun as we can, forgive often, learn to let go and trust, and learn to be trustworthy. If necessary we will seek the advice of experts and the counsel of loved ones. Shifts can happen fast, for the better or worse. It seems like the end of the world but it’s not. You’re stronger and braver than you know.

11, 12, 13

If you don’t know what to do ask yourself how you want to feel. Once you have a good idea of that you can find lots of paths to get you there.

16, 21

Look into "OK Go" videos.


That little space between stimulus and response...that’s all the control we get. That space is ours to do with. That space is fertile ground for addiction, for faith, for peace or pain. When the sh*t hits the fan, resist the urge to run away from the pain. Trying to dull it will only make it grow deeper roots.


Alka-Seltzer is great for a hangover or even better, take it before you go to bed after partying. Disclaimer I’m talking about a few drinks. For the love of everything holy, please don’t ingest insane amounts of alcohol at a time. Buzzed is fun, drunk is stupid. And dangerous. Never drive once you’ve had a drink or weed.


Consensual sex requires no persuasion, convincing or begging.

14, 17