Every time I'm at home, I tell my brother to "notice things around the house" and to "just help out." But there's so much more I want to teach him as we both approach graduation.
1. Be Kind
My brother is already one of the sweetest people I know, but I want him to know that it takes zero effort to be a kind and considerate person. But it takes true work and energy to decide and to follow through with being a jerk or being rude. No matter what kind of day you had, you don't know what others are going through. So show kindness whenever you can.
2. Take The Class
In college, we get so hung up on getting our degree that we can lose focus of what we are actually passionate about or our passion can change. I want my brother to know that it is perfectly acceptable to be an undecided major going into college and that no one should sway his mind on what he wants to major in. Choosing a major is big, but it's not the end of the world.
3. Help Around The House
Okay, this one might be the big sister in me or the motherly instincts coming out, but just help out. Our parents work two jobs each and the amount of stress I start to see on their faces when I come home is insane. A simple load of laundry, dishes, or randomly cleaning their bathroom or making their bed will make their day!
4. A Relationship Is Not Your End Goal
I know our sister is getting married and that's GREAT! But your life does not need to revolve around the idea of getting married in order to feel complete. And please, for the love of all things good, do not let mom change your mind on this. (Love you, mom :))
5. Women Can Tell When You're A Genuine Gentleman
Yes, a relationship is not the end all be all, but you should always be practicing being a gentleman. And not because it's "cool" or "gets you girls." But because you are one. Hold the door open, buy her dinner, get her flowers, ask how her day went and actually listen when she wants to rant.
6. It's Okay To Change Your Mind
When I was a year younger than you, I still wanted to be a math teacher, but a year later I changed my mind. And five years later I changed my mind. It is COMPLETELY acceptable to change your mind on career paths, majors, life decisions, etc. as long as you handle it in the appropriate ways. Don't quit your job on a whim because you want to pursue an art career. If you really want it, make a plan and stick to it.
7. You Are Not Defined By Your Religious Affiliation, Tattoos, or Piercings
You want to get six tattoos and three piercings? Great, I'll be right there to hold your hand. But do NOT think that those tattoos or piercings will define who you are as a person. Will others perceive you differently? Yes, if they solely base people off of appearance. Will you be any less of the sweet, hard-working, driven person you are? Absolutely not! This continues with your religious affiliation. So you end up not being Catholic in college? Okay, mom's had a heart attack, but hear me out. You're still kind, you're still getting an education, you haven't gotten anyone pregnant, you aren't addicted to drugs. Then you're doing great! But the MOMENT you become an a$**le, I will be down your throat about being the person mom, dad, and your siblings raised you to be.
8. Family First, Always
Dad has said it a million times and I will say it again, family first, always. No matter how amazing you think your friends are, your significant other is, your new life at college is, or important your job is, your family is your number one priority. You call on birthdays, Christmas, Easter, and other big holidays. You are there for those that raised you and those that helped raise you.
9. No Distance Is Ever Too Far
I've told people a hundred times, you are the light of my life. So if you are in trouble, you call me. I don't care if I'm in Norman, Orlando, or anywhere else. You are in trouble, you call me. Whatever distance, whatever time difference, whatever the situation is, you freaking call me. You are never too old, too cool, too smart to need others, especially your big sister.
10. You Will Never Know How Proud I Am Of You
If you get an education, if you accomplish the things you want in life, if you focus on the truly important things, I will always be proud of you. But if you are lazy, jobless, addicted to any substance and are not trying to fix your problems, that is a different story.
I love you, dude. End of discussion.