Thoughts on Liquor (“see beer”) and Other Unsolicited Advice

As we dumped each of our three boys at their respective colleges, I slipped an envelope onto their pillows.

That envelope contained two decades of brilliant advice on many of the intricacies of life from road trips and beer to porn and dating to fraternities and stupid stuff. (Connecting the dots, optional.)

One son stuck it on his bulletin board where it stayed all year.  Another son carried it around in his back pocket and made his friends read it–one of his friends absconded it and reprinted in the UA student newspaper.  

The other son?  Ahhhhhh, it may still be in the original envelope! 🙂

Sending kids off to college ain’t easy…after all, for many, it truly is a 4 (or 5 or 6) year party.  So unsolicited advice, especially from mom, may not be, uh, appreciated.  That, however, didn’t stop me from putting it out there!

Herein lies the greatly abbreviated version.  The full version in PDF form is available for here for download:  Alphabetical Advice BLOG COPY


Alphabetical Advice from Your Mama

Authenticity. Be the same with everyone, all the time, no matter where you go.

Beer. You can legally try it when you are 21. It dulls the brain and heightens your ability to make really stupid decisions. (Note: “Stupid Stuff”)

Bible. Read it. If it bores you, there’s a reason.  Ask God why and don’t be surprised by the answer.

Cynicism. Defined as pessimism, sarcasm, and suspicion. Catering to this results  in skepticism in life. It coughs up like the flu causing no one to want to be around you.

Dating. Take girls out on REAL DATES! Every date helps you to hone down what you want and don’t want in a future bride.

Drugs.  They are not an option for your life. Don’t take any meds without your name on the little plastic bottle. Leave the pot for potheads.

Education. It’s why you are there.  It’s expensive. Real expensive. Get our money’s worth.

Eternity. Think about it. It is real.

Eyes. Avoid pollen and porn. Both are irritants that will totally alter your vision of reality and make you itch when you need to be doing other things.

Fraternity. It’s not life. Just a part of it. Don’t sell your soul, your morals, your ethics or yourself to it. Be real in it. Don’t waste the myriad of opportunities that God gives you there.

Friends.   Treat them how you want them to treat you, even when they don’t deserve it. Dispense grace freely. You will never regret doing that–never. Build a good range/type of friends and try to talk with them deeply. Ask them occasionally how they really are, and really listen to their answer.

Girls. Treat all girls like ladies, even when they are not acting like ladies. That is a true gentleman. Avoid the easy ones.

God.  Trust Him, especially in the dark.  Unfortunately, there will be lots of dark.

Honesty. Don’t ever hedge the truth. Ever. Not even once under any circumstance. If the truth ain’t good enough, the truth ain’t good enough.

Humble. Be humble. Take the least seat, the last place, the lowest job. Rewards abound.

Ignore.  Ignore the voices.  There will always be voices.

Injuries.   Broken hearts heal–nurse them but not too much or people won’t want to be around you. Broken bones need casts. Broken skin needs Neosporin. Broken souls need Jesus.

Jesus.  Get to know Him better.  He will be more faithful than your friends, your brothers or your parents.  He gets where you are in life.

Kangaroos. This has nothing to do with your college experience unless you transfer to Austin College in Sherman Texas. (yes, that is their mascot.)

Laziness. Avoid it. If you are bored, then it’s time to really re-evaluate your life…and likely your grades!

Liquor. (see “beer”)

Mirror. Look in it once a day to check for stuff in your teeth and to make sure you know who is looking back. Make sure you like who is looking back. If you don’t, get a new mirror. 

No. Good word to use when your friends ask you to go out and you have a test to study for. (see “Education”)

Others. Look for the “least of these” and be kind to them. You will never regret doing that.

Parents. We will treat you like an adult and we expect you to act like one. But, we are still your parents. So, when you need a shoulder to cry on, we have four.

Politics. Listen more than you talk. Weigh your words carefully before you talk. Verrrrry carefully.

Quiet time.   Personal quiet time is good. You need it more than you realize. No phone, no computer, nobody.

Reputation. It is a lot easier to screw it up then it is to maintain it. It always goes before you.

Road trips. Make as many as you can if a) you can afford it, b) it doesn’t affect your day-to-day education. (See “Education”)

Roommates. When you are ticked at them do something nice for them. It is a good pattern to get into. And it works wonders.

Smoking. It’s illegal until you are 19. It causes cancer.  Listerine don’t hide the odor. (I know what both smell like, separate and together.)

Snobbery. You are not better than anyone.

Stupid Stuff. It happens. Get it right, then get over it.  Fall down seven times, get up eight.

Tongue. Guard yours or it will bite you.

Underwear. Make sure you always have some that is clean.

Venereal disease. It’s fairly simple to avoid, so avoid it.

Video Games. If you are more proud of your game scores than your GPA, be concerned. (See “education”)

Weather. Dress appropriately. I won’t be there to remind you to wear your coat 🙁

Xcess. Anything in excess is not good for you. Especially M&M’s.  

Yodeling. It relieves tension. Go ahead, try it.

Z. Get some zzzzz’s every night.  They are marvelous!

 Free Downloadable PDF, EXPANDED version Alphabetical Advice: Alphabetical Advice BLOG COPY


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31 thoughts on “Thoughts on Liquor (“see beer”) and Other Unsolicited Advice

  1. Love this! Thanks for sharing – it will be passed on! Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war. (Proverbs 20:18) war-college….

  2. This was really good. Wish my mama told me these things before I left the house. Had to learn the heard way! Love you guys.

  3. This is excellent Karen! I have printed 4 copies out…one for each of my boys when the time is right to give it to them.

    • Ah, April! This makes me smile! I LVOE watching them grow up on facebook. It really does go sooo very fast!
      miss yall

  4. So glad it makes you smile! Hope you guys are doing great! You are so right…it goes like warp speed! Miss y’all too!

  5. Got the list saved on my computer and sent it to my hotmail account – now I have to remember I have it in 9 years so I can share with Levi. Also a great tool (and reminder) for those of us that have been out of college for 25 years…

    • Mike you are too funny! NINE YEARS goes by so fast. I began the writing of that 8 years ago for Ty….wow that’s gone fast.
      (FYI: I put a reminder in my iphone to get my drivers license renewed in EIGHT years! HAHA)
      thanks for reading!

  6. Hey, read the abridged and unabridged version(s)! Love it! Now, if I was as creative as you, I could have thought of it but alas, my brain cells took an extended vaca!! Will give to Zach before he goes to University….hee hee.

    • Both of them, eh? You are a crazy girl….ah, just add onto Zach’s what is needed! (OH, BTW, he’s not old enough to go to college yet!! 😉
      Love you so

  7. Love this! My last child is a freshman in high school and guess what she is getting when she goes to college? Yes! A copy of this! Thanks!

  8. Love it! I’m sending it to my latest graduating class. That’s 75 kids and their parents. It’s too good not to share.

  9. Love it! It’s really good. I’m sending it to my last graduating class – those who are moving into their dorm rooms this week. That is 75 kids and their parents.

  10. Love it. And it’s so true as a fairly recent college grad… Whether we listen and learn the beginnings of the lessons from a hidden paper from our mamas, or never see them, we’re going to learn each lesson. And it might just involve more skint knees and bruised eyes or slaps across the face—and heart; we’re going to learn everything you left for your boys though.

    Love you and your creativity. And lessons I was reminded of reading today,

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