52 Lessons for My Kids

Our kids grow up waaay too fast.  And along the way, we try to teach them lessons we hope will help them in the future.  Of course, the lessons we teach them to evolve over time. Nursery School and Kindergarten, Elementary and Middle School, High School, and then College. The lessons are all different.  My kids are now adults (at least by age), and here are 52 lessons (one for each week of the year) I have for them.

  1. Family first. Always
  2. With compliments to T.S. Eliot: Don’t be afraid to fail. You don’t know how far you can go until you’ve gone too far.
  3. Laugh as much as you can.
  4. Smile when you are on the phone. People will notice it in your voice
  5. Always say “please” and “thank you”. Its nice manners and so often forgotten today
  6. Hold the door open for the person behind you and let them go first
  7. Let people on the elevator get off before you get on.
  8. You’ll be exposed to people, ideas, history, and food that will make you appreciate the diversity of our world
  9. Jump in a pile of leaves in late fall
  10. Go sledding in the winter
  11. Try a new restaurant at least once a month.
  12. Be grateful for everything that you have and all the people that love you.
  13. Say “Hi” to the person in front of you in line. You might meet someone new and learn something about them. Plus, it makes the time go by faster when the line is long.
  14. 95% of what you think can go wrong, will not. And the other 5% is never as bad as you think.
  15. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Have the humility to believe that you might be wrong.
  16. Besides being good for your body, it’s also good for your brain and your mental health.
  17. Don’t ever let someone tell you what you can or cannot achieve. It is only up to you.
  18. On your To-Do List, it’s not how much you get done that matters, it’s what you get done that matters.
  19. Be a minimalist. The more stuff you have, the more you have to worry about.
  20. Be kind to others. It is so easy to do and will have a great impact on them
  21. You cannot control how others treat you, but you can control how you respond to how you are treated
  22. Assume the best and be positive. There is no reason to be negative until you know exactly all the facts.
  23. Make as many friends as you can. Some will be better than others, but it’s always nice to know people wherever you go.
  24. Give your time and energy to a worthwhile charity. Investing yourself in a cause is often more important than simply giving money.
  25. Handwrite Thank You Notes. It is so rarely done these days that it will make you stand out from the crowd.
  26. Use Linked In. It’s a great tool to stay in touch with people and build your network. Yes, you can still use Snapchat or IG, but use LI for your business.
  27. And the corollary #26, always build your network.
  28. There will always be someone with more than you and someone with less than you. Simply appreciate what you have.
  29. You do not have to face your troubles or concerns alone. Your family will always be there to help you.
  30. Make others feel good about themselves. It will actually make you feel good about yourself.
  31. Learn to write well and use proper grammar. They are underrated skills.
  32. Treat everyone equally. Even those who are not nice to you, or are not as fortunate you, are still entitled to your respect.
  33. When you read about a person’s accomplishments, send them a congratulatory note. Everyone likes to be recognized.
  34. Be a constant learner. Whether about art, people, history, or something else, if you are constantly learning you will be growing as a person. Plus, you’ll always have something interesting to talk about with friends and at parties.
  35. Only you are responsible for your future. No one else.
  36. 5 minutes early is on time, and on time is late.
  37. There are more ways to be charitable than just donating money to a charity. Leave a bigger tip for your restaurant server, your Uber driver, the hotel housekeeper that cleans your room each night.
  38. Make a budget and save for a rainy day.
  39. The best investment you can make is in yourself. Always keep improving your skills and improving your knowledge in your profession.
  40. Understand what you can control and what you can’t. And don’t worry about the latter.
  41. Be curious. You’ll always learn something new and be amazed.
  42. Get in trouble. Cause mayhem. But please don’t get arrested.
  43. Don’t hit “Reply All” on an e-mail.
  44. Mom and I are trying to do our best, so forgive us for any mistakes we’ve made along the way.
  45. Take risks and chances. Besides, it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
  46. Whenever you buy something, get rid of two other things. You never need as much as you have or as you think you need.
  47. Dream Big and Move Fast. Time waits for no one.  And even if you fail, by moving fast you’ll always have time to do it better the next time.
  48. You don’t really have knowledge until you are able to put into practice what you have learned.
  49. Hone your public speaking skills. This means knowing your audience, being well prepared, practicing, avoiding “filler words”.  And if you still need help, get a speaking coach.
  50. Give a firm handshake
  51. Change yourself instead of thinking the world (or others) will change for you.
  52. Finally, you really only need a few things to be happy: health, loving friends and family, food and shelter, and money for a rainy day. Everything else is a luxury (even your iPhone).


Andrew J. Goldberg
Andrew J. Goldberg
Andrew Goldberg is the President of the Law Office of Andrew J. Goldberg. His clients come to him because they want Confidence and Clarity in the decisions they make and the direction they are heading. He loves working with entrepreneurs and using his 35 years of business experience to help them navigate the opportunities and risks of their entrepreneurial journey. He guides clients in thinking and viewing situations from new and different perspectives, and vigorously challenges them on their finances, marketing, production and manufacturing, HR, and more. And he does it with Passion, Energy, Knowledge, Experience and a large dose of Humor. Also a CPA, he is frequently involved in matters where legal, accounting and business issues intersect. He regularly counsels clients on business formations and corporate transactions, business succession planning, the accumulation and preservation of wealth for business owners, taxation, and general contract matters.

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    • Larry, from your bio it seems you have quite of a bit of “real world” experience. What are the 5 best lessons you’ve learned?

    • 1. You can do more than you ever imagined
      2. Doors stay closed until you open them
      3.Think of the possibilities then unleash them
      4. To be successful hire Great people train them, develop them,believe in them and then get out of the way
      5 In the end success is a Dirt Road, an old dog, a front porch and grandchildren

    • Maureen, Thanks for the response and thoughts. I love #42 too. Tell me, what “mayhem” have you caused? Share with me your story, and then I’ll give you mine (which will be a great laugh for you).

    • Andrew, I am laughing here right now. Let’s say that my 15, 16, 17 year old friends and I had mischievous fun. We all lived in rural Canada and were extremely creative with big imaginations of how to create adventure with little money and living in a small community. Much of our mayhem surrounded bombing around in my 1972 Grover-blue Malibu with fun-fur (again like Grover to match in the back seat). Sometimes we drove with no lights down back gravel roads for the heck of it, we had costumes that we wore to freak each other out unsuspectedly at our country homes (and yes, we went a little too far once scaring a girlfriend one night when she pulled a shotgun on us!), and we snuck around to neighbouring towns spying on the boys and popping out of mysteriously made cardboard birthday cakes at the local boy’s college. So much to talk about…I am so glad at 49 I have those memories. They have carried me through some rough patches of my life. How about you Andrew…please do share and thank you for taking me there!

    • Let’s just say I fall in the category of “I’d rather ask for forgiveness than ask for permission”. There are too many to recount. However, my favorite occurred many many years ago. My mom was in the hospital delivering my brother when I and my two best friends (who were identical twins), decided it would be a great idea to stand on the street corner and throw stones as cars passed by. So, we actually hit a car and the car turned around to look for the culprits. We summarily took old metal garbage cans, turned them upside down, and hid in them. For a very long time. So long in fact that my grandmother who was staying with us while mom was in the hospital, came out looking for me and could not find me. A neighborhood search ensured. We were found (I’m here to recount the story), but to this day I’m reminded of the event by my mom, brother and older sister. And “yes”, there are more from where that came from 🙂

    • Oh my gosh, you were/are great fun! ? Thank you Andrew. I loved this on a Sunday morning. Looking forward to more of your work (and story shares)!

    • Noemi, In reading your bio, it appears you’ve taught a lot of young people. What lessons have you tried to teach them. And what lessons do you wish you would have taught them? I’m excited to hear your thoughts.

    • Hi Andrew, I have 20 years of teaching under my belt which came to an end last year. ‘Tried to teach them’ is the keyword in your comment, whether I succeeded is another matter and only my former students can answer that. For a fuller. though still incomplete answer, you may wish to read a previous article entitled ‘ What my teaching years taught me.’ Do you mean subjects or values by lessons I would have wished to have taught?