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Making the bed we call ‘life’

MODERN DAD | By Jon Show

It’s graduation season and I’m a sucker for a good graduation speech that offers actionable life advice. None of this “reach for your dreams” or “believe in yourself” garbage, I mean advice that you can actually follow.

I have a handful of favorites, including one from Admiral William McRaven, whose speech at the Univ. of Texas weaved life lessons around one simple piece of advice: make your bed every morning.

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and encourage you to do another task.”

Do I ever make the bed? Never. But I like the idea as a construct.

The year I graduated college was also the same year of the debut of “Class of 99; Wear Sunscreen,” a suggestion that I’m also not terribly great at following.

The track began by extolling the virtues of sunscreen before delving into other pieces of life advice.

“The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by science, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice, now.”

Onto the annual Father’s Day column that will arrive the first day of June, sit unread by my children on the dining room table until the Monday after Father’s Day, when I will throw it on the stack in my closet.

Dream big

You’re capable of more than you know. The first step is allowing yourself to dream big. The only way to succeed big is to dream big.

Unfortunately when you dream big that means sometimes you will fail big. As I sit closer to 50 than I am to 40 I honestly don’t know whether succeeding big or failing big is better for you in the long run.

It’s called self-confidence for a reason. Don’t wait for someone to give it to you or allow someone to take it away.

Call me old fashioned but I find it regrettable that kids aren’t allowed to fight anymore. Getting punched in the mouth teaches you that you’ve gone too far and that it can hurt when you go too far.

Stick up fiercely for the kid in the corner. You might get in trouble at school but you’ll get ice cream at home.

It’s important to learn how to do a lot of things. The quote isn’t, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.” The quote is, “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of none.”’

No one is thinking about you or looking at you nearly as much as you think they are, because they’re over there thinking everyone is looking at them.

Everyone wants to be part of the in-crowd but I promise you that it’s vastly overrated at all ages. The in-crowd is so very, very boring. When the in-crowd grows up they go to parties and they talk about investments and politics and crypto. My gosh who wants to hang out with that.

Adulting is boring

As I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered that the kids table is far more interesting than the adult table. Don’t be in a rush to join the adult table because they look at you funny when you go back to the kids table.

Tik Chat, Instasnap, Tok Gram. The last thing you should ask yourself before posting something on these channels is this – “Would my grandmother be ashamed of me if she saw this.” If the answer is maybe or yes, then delete it.

Don’t swear in front of people you don’t know, especially when there are kids around.

There’s a difference between having political opinions and allowing your political opinions to become your personality. If someone describes you as a Republican or Democrat it’s time to reevaluate things.

While you’re at it don’t grow up and join a political party. They’re all sheep who follow different shepherds. Be a wolf. Or a goat or a chicken. I don’t care. Just don’t be a sheep.

“Society grows great when old people plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” It’s a Greek proverb. Taking care of other people makes you kind, not a socialist.

At times you’re going to hate the things you love and that’s completely normal. It doesn’t mean you don’t love it. It just means you’re frustrated with it. Learn to tell the difference.

The dog is the only thing in this world that is excited to see you at any time on any given day. Remember that when you push her aside upon entering the house.

Weird is good. Different is good. Dressing the same, talking the same, liking the same things is boring. Is it easier sometimes? Of course. Easy equals boring. Have the courage to be weird.

Annual reminder

I say it every year but attitude and effort matters, above all. They are the only things you can truly control in life. Wake up. Put two feet on the ground. And go. Every day.

Find a passion and become so engrossed with it that people don’t understand your obsession. It can be a job, a hobby, a place … anything. Just find a passion.

You’re going to make mistakes – big ones and small ones. Be quick to apologize because how you accept responsibility says more about you than the mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t be a weasel.

Some people succeed because of the opportunity they were given, and others succeed despite the opportunity they weren’t given. The end result is the same unless you fail to succeed and then it’s your own fault.

Whites warm, darks cold. One Tide pod in the washer and two sheets of Bounce in the dryer. We’ve done your last load of laundry for you.

Which reminds me. Mom and the admiral want you to make your bed.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 15-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 11-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.


One Response to “Making the bed we call ‘life’”

  1. Right on Dad! Words to live by. You have elevated knowledge to wisdom even though you are closer to 50 than 40. I am closer to 80 than 70, and going on 50, as a result of attitude and effort.

    Posted by Scott Higgins | June 7, 2024, 12:16 pm

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