Things I’d teach my son..

  1. Humility- Humility IS a virtue! Yes, being humble is not being weak or being a “doormat”. Contrary to common perception, humility is the hallmark of a strong man. As they say, “Humble people think don’t less of themselves; they think more of others”
  2. Respect- Respect! Don’t fear. Don’t respect someone for the sake of their financial or social status, Don’t respect someone for their age or gender, Don’t respect someone for their possessions. Respect everyone- because they are as human as you are- they are as right as you can ever be and as wrong as you can ever be; they are a sum of their successes, their failures, their whims, their flaws and all their experiences.
  3. Gratitude- Be grateful for everything- from being alive to be able to achieve massive successes. Be grateful to anyone who does anything for you. Remember, no one owes you anything. So, anything anyone does for you is something to be grateful for. And remember, the more you are grateful for, the more you will receive. The universe opens itself up to you when you acknowledge and count your blessings- Big and small!
  4. Love- unconditionally. Love is stronger than any other power on Earth. Love is not about attaining someone’s attention, it is about giving all of yourself. Love is the risk we take with our hearts to bring a smile to someone we genuinely care about. Love creates, love forgives, love brings peace. Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable. Find the subtle difference, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS pursue love.
  5. Chivalry is still sexy- Hold the door (irrespective of who is behind you- a man or woman); Switch your phone off when out with a lady; Spend time with your family; Send flowers; walk on the outside of a sidewalk; Share your umbrella; Pick up the bill-ALWAYS.
  6. You are enough- ALWAYS, ALWAYS believe in yourself. There will be many opinions about what you can and what you can’t. There will always be someone trying to put you down. There will always be someone trying to show you how it can’t be done or doesn’t make sense. There will be times when things might not work out the way you wanted them to, and life deals you a bad hand. I urge you to especially at such times, believe in yourself, more than ever. Believe in yourself because you are uniquely and lovingly made. You are that sperm which made it in the race- and if you could then, you very well can now with all your experiences. Be yourself, unapologetically!
  7. Unlimited kindness- Something the world needs most of today, and in the coming times is kindness- and shiploads of it. Kindness is not niceness. It is not doing something for someone because you want something back from them- respect, acknowledgement, money or anything for that matter. Be kind without any agenda- because that is for your soul to get nourished; and that is the most powerful place to be in.
  8. Money is not bad- But money is not everything either. If you objectively view money, it is nothing more than a piece of paper. The power we give to that piece of paper has been decided by us- humans to keep the economy going. Take that power away from this token of exchange and introduce the barter system- What then is the value of this paper? Give money the value it commands- it is the source of all comforts and needs ; don’t let it drive you and your life. Money is not bad, the person who revers it is! Don’t chase money!
  9. Violence is inevitable, and self control is in your hands- Violence has been a part of the human civilization since time immemorial and will be for ages to come. You will face threats all along. But, you have a choice- you can choose to look it in the eye and treat it just as another feature of human existence and a part of the world we live in!
  10. Comfort is the worst addiction- Comfort can kill you. Choose to be in your comfort zone and you have a sure tool to perish. The sad part is that it takes only small acts(or lack of) each day which incrementally become hazardous habits- Miss school for a day, skip exercise for a day, don’t read for a day, eat junk for a meal. And before you know it, one day, one meal, one session become a habit. Practice self discipline- not because of any external fear or compliance but because this is good for you. Respect and honor yourself enough to avoid getting stuck in a rut. Life gets easier when you do the hard things. Growth is painful- but sweet!
  11. Incessant improvement is a necessity- Keep growing, keep moving- Just don’t stop because the day you stop, life stops. Take small, incremental steps each day. Join a class, read a new book, meet new people, make new friends, travel to new places, gain new perspectives, think and in the process, shed the old habits that might drag you down and take small but sure steps each day. And before you know it, you would’ve gone a long long way.
  12. Listen respectfully, have an opinion and NEVER underestimate the power of a woman in a conversation. Listen- don’t hear! Be respectful of the person you are talking to. Listen not only to words but the non verbal cues. Engage in meaningful conversations, have an opinion. At the same time, have the grace to disagree politely when someone’s opinion does not align with yours. And most importantly, never ever underestimate the perspectives a woman can bring to a meaningful conversation. Never exclude a woman from a discussion.
  13. Women do not want to be with a child- You heard that right! Be a man- a strong one at that. Women like their men to take charge and stand by them( However strong they are). Be a man, or be alone!
  14. Learn - Learning is an art. There are ways to learn. Learn different things, and let one of those things be learning to learn (and unlearn). Learn to think; learn to form an opinion and learn to respect others opinions. Be curious- about people, about things, about the universe. Learn new skills, new languages, new ways of being( Essentially, learn when you can and what you can) Be a life long learner- this is what will keep you in good stead even when you grow old.
  15. Give- Unconditionally! Be a giver- ALWAYS! Give - without expecting anything in return. Be empathetic and kind. It will be your forever superpower.
  16. Pray- Not when you need something or when the chips are down. Pray whenever you can because this is important to stay sane and grounded. The world has seen some unprecedent times, and it has realized is that prayer is what keeps it going in these difficult times. Pray to seek wisdom, pray to express gratitude, pray knowing that God loves you and that help is always there- when you call out. Let god be your friend and guide.
  17. Read- Readers are leaders. Read, read, read. There is no better friend than a book. Read without any biases of genres, authors, nationalities- NOTHING. Read for the sheer joy of reading. Learn from years worth of experiences of people. Life will throw up many questions at you- and the answers are all there. Read and find out!
  18. Exercise- I cant begin to emphasize enough the importance of exercise. It does not only change your body- it transforms your mind. When you exercise, you will learn about your ability to endure physical and mental challenges, you will learn how to concentrate, you will learn the importance of gratitude, the importance of setting goals and going after them. Above all, exercise will teach you that you can achieve anything you set your mind to!
  19. Travel- Travel lends perspective and develops character like nothing else. Travel extensively, travel when you get the time and opportunity. The world is a huge and beautiful place. Explore cultures, cuisines, architecture, meet new people, learn new languages and ways of life and incorporate into yours anything that makes it beautiful. Remember, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
  20. Pursue your passions- You got just one life. Live it large- Go after things that make it worthwhile. Chase your dreams, believe in yourself, put in the effort and trust the universe.

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Renuka Rajagopalan

Renuka Rajagopalan

Mom| Business Strategist| Passionate about cooking, mental health, education, reading, travel and (now) writing !