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Good Rules- Two Sets

Some years ago, after my parents moved from Maryland to Florida to begin the second half of their life, they bought a print of H. Jackson Brown's Life's Little Instructions. If you've never read them, they are:

  • Sing in the shower.

  • Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.

  • Watch a sunrise at least once a year.

  • Never refuse homemade brownies.

  • Strive for excellence, not perfection.

  • Plant a tree on your birthday.

  • Learn three clean jokes.

  • Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full.

  • Compliment three people every day.

  • Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.

  • Keep it simple.

  • Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.

  • Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

  • Floss your teeth.

  • Ask for a raise when you feel you’ve earned it.

  • Be forgiving of yourself and others.

  • Overtip breakfast waitresses.

  • Say “thank you” a lot.

  • Say “please” a lot.

  • Avoid negative people.

  • Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards.

  • Wear polished shoes.

  • Remember other people’s birthdays.

  • Commit yourself to constant improvement.

  • Carry jumper cables in your trunk.

  • Have a firm handshake.

  • Send lots of Valentine cards.

  • Look people in the eye.

  • Be the first to say “Hello”.

  • Use the good silver.

  • Return all things you borrow.

  • Make new friends but cherish the old ones.

  • Keep secrets.

  • Sing in a choir.

  • Plant flowers every spring.

  • Have a dog.

  • Always accept an outstretched hand.

  • Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.

  • Wave at kids on school buses.

  • Be there when people need you.

  • Feed a stranger’s expired parking meter.

  • Don’t expect life to be fair.

  • Never underestimate the power of love.

  • Drink champagne for no reason at all.

  • Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.

  • Don’t be afraid to say “I made a mistake”.

  • Don't be afraid to say “I don’t know”.

  • Compliment even small improvements.

  • Keep your promises (no matter what).

  • Marry only for love.

  • Rekindle old friendships.

  • Count your blessings.

  • Call your mother.


And in 2016, the songwriter Lori McKenna crafted a tune that was written for her five young children and that has since become a hit for Tim McGraw. She puts together a really heartfelt list of "rules", and captures it all well in the chorus.

Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won't be a waste of time
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door say please say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Don't expect a free ride from no one
Don't hold a grudge or a chip and here's why
Bitterness keeps you from flying
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
I love you ain't no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind

Don't take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you're goin'
Don't forget turn back around
Help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

Watch the video here:


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