THE BLOG

30 Principles That Turn Good Kids into Good Adults

07/23/2014 11:35 am ET | Updated Sep 22, 2014
John M. Simmons

My grandpa had a different way of looking at things. Chances are he was a lot like your grandpa. Words of wisdom in one-liner form flowed from him just like Ben Franklin's under his Silence Dogood pen name. I once heard another adult provide an excuse for mischief done by her sons. She made the mistake of using the "Boys will be boys" cliché in Grandpa's presence. "No ma'am," Grandpa replied in a serious tone. "Boys will be men." I have always tried to consider that thought in my own family. It has been my desire to raise my children to be adults, not kids. Following are 30 principles we have tried to rely on in our family in our attempt to reach that goal. Some of them came from Grandpa. I'd like to think he would approve of the rest.

  1. When you are wrong, apologize. (This lesson is seldom learned by children whose parents never apologize to them.)
  2. You don't need to be wrong to truthfully say that you're sorry.
  3. Look for reasons to be happy. Then be happy.
  4. Be thankful for what you have. You can always find someone who has less.
  5. Share what you have with those who are less fortunate.
  6. Do some good things that nobody knows about.
  7. You don't need to be appreciated to help others, unless that is why you helped them.
  8. Take care of your responsibilities so someone else doesn't need to worry about their rights.
  9. Set aside some of your time to work on loved one's priority lists.
  10. Spend your time with those who make you better.
  11. Don't be afraid to ask for help, but only after you have done all you can do on your own.
  12. Seek sound advice. Then follow it.
  13. If you did everything you should have, you'll be tired by bedtime.
  14. Study when it is time to learn.
  15. Exert yourself when it is time to work.
  16. People need to learn to work as children so that they will know how to do it as adults.
  17. Accept help and give credit. (Show me a self-made man and I'll show you a mess.)
  18. Spend a limited amount of time fighting against things you disagree with.
  19. Give the same respect that you demand from others.
  20. Bigotry breeds bigotry. (What you send around comes around.)
  21. Respect other's positions, whether or not you agree.
  22. Spend most of your time building things you love, rather than tearing down things you hate.
  23. If you don't have anything good to say, find something good to say.
  24. Try to give more than you take in any relationship.
  25. Your family should be better because you are in it.
  26. Your community should shine because that is where you live.
  27. Your state should be improved by your presence.
  28. Your country should be strengthened because of your dedication.
  29. The world should be a little bit worse without you when it's time for you to go.
  30. No matter how good an excuse is, it doesn't change what it is.

I realize that the world is a bit more complicated than the way my grandpa saw things. Still, most of the difficulties that we deal with on a daily basis could be greatly simplified; if we only applied a couple of layers of good-old-fashioned common sense and wisdom.

Follow John M. Simmons on his blog