Some good old-fashioned advice

Published 7:24 am Tuesday, July 15, 2003

By By Brian Giles Publisher
When I first arrived in Atmore is was when the local schools were graduating. I attended some of the honors days and even wrote a column about graduation. This summer, Lindsey Sherrill, a recent graduate, has worked with us full time. Lindsey will be attending the University of Montevallo this fall. As I watched the kids graduating and as I have listened to Lindsey talking about moving away to school, I have wondered what advice I would give her were she my daughter. After all, I do remember the fun that I had while I was in college.
It's an interesting exercise. You should try it.
As I thought and the ideas began to flow, I could not resist making a list of what I would say. After all, good Lord willing, my son will pick up his diploma with the Class of 2020. And there's no harm in writing an early draft.
What I came up with is a mix of what I will say as he graduates, along with some specific advice relating to "going off" to college. And while all of what is below should be taught far in advance of graduation, I figure there's no downside in going over it one more time for good measure:
Be careful and pay attention. When we aren't careful is when we get into trouble.
Drive with both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road. Right lane slow, left lane fast. And obey the speed limit.
Clean your room.
Be yourself.
Tell the truth.
Take responsibility for your actions. Don't blame other people and don't blame society. You are an adult. Realize every decision has a consequence, positive or negative. Ask people you respect for help and advice, then make your decision and take responsibility for it.
Don't mess around with drugs or hang around with people who do.
Go to class. Study hard. Do good work. Do not seek perfection; seek instead to do your best.
Eat right and exercise.
Measure twice, cut once.
Be careful of girls, be responsible and don't get yourself in trouble. Remember that until you are married the only safe sex is NO sex.
Be tactful. Don't alienate people because you fail to think about how your actions and words will affect them. Learn the importance of agreeing to disagree.
Take care of your reputation. It is the only one you have and is your most valuable asset.
Make a good first impression. Smile, give a firm hand shake, look 'em in the eye and tell 'em who you are.
When you accept a task, give it your best shot and get it done.
You can do great work when you are up against a deadline, but you will produce even better results when you plan your work and work your plan.
Nothing is ever as bad or as good as it first seems to be.
Be the most pleasant, positive and enthusiastic person you know.
At night, stay in a group.
You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak. Don't finish another's sentence or attempt to complete their thought.
Go to church.
Let those who you appreciate know you appreciate them.
Don't be intimidated by rich people, smart people, big people, older people. They are, after all, just people.
Manage your time well.
If someone other than your doctor asks you "how's it going?" or "how do you feel?" there is little value in an answer beyond, "great, how about you?"
Finding a resolution is always more important than determining who is right and who is wrong.
Praise in public; criticize in private.
It's better to have one good suit than a closet full of cheap ones.
Resist the temptation to criticize people.
Tell people what they need to know, not what they want to hear.
And yes, by gosh, have some fun.
Brian Giles is publisher of The Atmore Advance. You can reach him by calling 368-2123 or at

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