Prudent Advice

Life Lessons for My Daughter

Category Archives: Homemaking

#162 Mind your manners.

As a child you may feel as though you’re required to submit to an arbitrary set of rules: constantly told where to sit and what to say and which fork to use. I want you to understand the bigger reason for all of this, even beyond conforming to social norms. As an adult you won’t be afforded the same latitude you enjoy today to freely express your emotions. When the tide of your own passion is so high you’re at a loss for how to behave, your manners will guide you. They are the tool you will use to maintain your dignity.

#161 Live alone for a period of time.

I love living with you and your father; I also cherish the years I spent living alone. You shouldn’t go from being someone’s daughter to someone’s wife to someone’s mother without first being someone yourself. Living alone will allow you to discover who you are when no one is watching, what you need to get through a day, and ultimately that you are a capable, independent woman.

#155 You have responsibilities.

This is a big idea, little girl, but I know you can handle it. I want you to realize that as you grow you take on responsibility. In the beginning, you are explicitly accountable for items like your toys and your schoolwork. As you age, your responsibility becomes more implicit, expanding to include intangibles like friendships and family bonds. Whether or not you want this responsibility, it exists; you have influence over everything that you touch. Because I believe so strongly that you are worthy of this responsibility, I want you to embrace it. You have the capacity to make moral decisions and are therefore accountable to your choices. Those choices and the example they set mean something to this world, without ambiguity. You are of great significance not only to me, but also to yourself and to the world at large, so act accordingly.

#139 Shopping is neither a hobby nor a sport.

Shopping can be a fun activity; most women cannot deny a little high when finding the perfect pair of three-inch aubergine leather heels to match that vintage paisley dress or a hand stained mahogany hardwood end table that fits perfectly in the nook by the fireplace. But know that at the end of the day, shopping is simply a means of acquiring things. Life is not about amassing loads of slick stuff. When shopping becomes your hobby, it’s time to find something else to fill the hole inside you where you normally put things.