Prudent Advice

Life Lessons for My Daughter

Category Archives: Kindness

#210 Acknowledge inequity.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence “All men are created equal.” Today, we interpret “men” to mean “people,” but at that time “men” was not intended to be inclusive of women, or even of men who were not white. Inequity existed 200 years ago, and it still exists today. Don’t let anyone tell you that everyone gets a fair shot. Be sympathetic to the disadvantaged and work hard to include them.

#179 Talk to strangers.

Teaching you to fear strangers would be cynical. The generosity of unknown people will ease your burden on many occasions. Instead, I want you to learn to gauge people’s intentions by listening to your gut instincts and recognizing subtle cues. Confidence in this skill will allow you to avoid the aberrant persons you encounter and embrace something much more common – the kindness of strangers.

#174 Extend your humanity to animals.

Any animal that you befriend or happen to encounter is deserving of your compassion and benevolence. What separates us from animals is only, arguably, sentience. Inasmuch as the laws of nature decree they are food, they are still entitled to lives of dignity.

#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.