Last week was my fat-faced goddaughter’s christening. But instead of buying her buckets of baby clothes I thought I’d take the “cheesy” route and write her something heartfelt and meaningful — a list of Ten Commandments she’d be forced to read and follow all the days of her life.
01: Don’t ask questions, SEEK answers. It’s easy to “question everything.” Any idiot can do that. So be different. be patient. Wrestle with difficult questions and don’t be afraid to face the answers (even if they are sometimes just as difficult as the questions themselves).
02: Don’t “use up” your free time. USE your free time. Because time isn’t there for you to “kill,” but for you to LIVE.
03: Don’t confuse love with respect. Love is free, respect is earned. This means you can always “be there” for a person without feeling the need to “trust” or praise them immediately.
04: Don’t be too open-minded. Be selectively close-minded. History’s greatest minds are composed of individuals who knew the importance of drawing the line SOMEWHERE.
05: No dating till you’re forty! Or at least make sure your dad approves first. Believe it or not, he’s not picky because he’s protective. He’s picky because real men can spot a douchebag from a mile away.
06: Don’t always do what is safe or easy. Rather, do what is RIGHT. Because sometimes, what is right, is neither safe or easy.
07: Don’t be afraid of pain, sadness, or discomfort. Be friends with them. Because living a life full of meaningful stories will require that you experience those very things OVER and OVER again.
08: Don’t always eat out. Take time to learn how to cook healthy crap. Otherwise, you’ll end up fat (like your uncles).
09: Don’t be “nice” just so people will like you. Kindness is a GIFT. So give it willingly, without expecting anything in return. What you’ll learn is that authentic kindness is not only life-changing for those you share it with, it’s also contagious.
10: Don’t take yourself too seriously. But DO take God seriously. People who confuse these two things, usually end up self-centered with some false sense of “entitlement.” So learn to laugh at yourself and be grateful to the One who fills your lungs with life and MIRTH.
The funny thing is, regardless if you love or hate these “Commandments,” it won’t make a damn bit of difference if WE — as parents and godparents — don’t set the example. So my REAL gift for you, my beautiful goddaughter, is that I am choosing to keep these Commandments myself (except for the “no dating” part). I promise to live a life WORTH your respect and emulation. Because as the old saying goes,
“While children have never been very good at listening, they’ve always been great at imitating.”