It’s our responsibility as parents to send our kids into the world with the tools to be independent, caring adults. A lot of sage and not-so-sage advice parents used to pass on to their children has been lost in the world of busy schedules, screen time and school activities.

I think these small bits of wisdom are still important for young people to hear. So with that being said, here are 37 things I want to teach my kids before they reach adulthood.

1. Love yourself and know you are enough.

2. Know that it’s OK to make mistakes.

3. Be the kindest person you know.

4. Don’t rush to grow up.

5. Never stop learning.

6. Wear sunscreen.

7. Savor life.

8. Trust your instincts.

9. Know that things will change.

10. Write more.

11. Don’t rely on others to make you happy.

12. Never buy egg salad from a cafeteria.

13. Let yourself be broken.

14. Watch your mom cook.

15. Understand that you don’t have to be perfect.

16. Don’t over-pluck your eyebrows.

17. Know your worth.

18. Take time to enjoy life.

19. Ask for help when you need it.

20. Don’t complain without offering a solution. It achieves nothing.

21. Travel as often as you can.

22. Tell people you love them. You never know when they’ll be gone.

23. Don’t worry about being popular in high school.

24. Be financially responsible. Spend less than you earn.

25. Saying ‘no’ is OK.

26. Worry less. Most of it doesn’t matter anyway.

27. Don’t waste your time on jealousy.

28. Protect your body.

29. Listen to your grandparents’ stories. It’s your history.

30. Laugh.

31. Don’t buy a motorcycle.

32. Practice a hobby or skill you’re passionate about. It’ll come in handy later.

33. Don’t change for other people. Always be yourself.

34. Send hand-written thank you notes.

35. Go outside.

36. Listen more, listen better and pay attention.

37. Always know that I love you.

To my kids: Even if you don’t hear me now, I hope you will someday understand.


Shea Saladee lives in Papillion with her husband, Brent, and their three children. She works as an instructor at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

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