This is a terrifying list request! For one thing, it's hard to think about my daughters - now 5 and 9 - as teens. Also, being honest about my "uncool Dadness" is very vulnerable. But hey, anything for @cherrycheva (a true role model for teen girls!).
  1. If you disagree with me and want to call me a fucking asshole, that's OK.
  2. If you disagree with Mom and want to call her a fucking asshole - NOT OK. Always - ALWAYS - respect your mother. End of story.
  3. Stick with the friends who make you laugh the hardest.
  4. Appreciate how lucky you are to have a healthy, functioning body.
  5. The entire world is going to tell you to focus on the differences between you and other young women. "They wear these clothes, I don't." "They use these slang words, I don't." DO NOT FALL FOR THIS. It is a plot to keep young women from working together and realizing their incredible strength. FOCUS ON YOUR SIMILARITIES.
  6. The entire world will tell you to be afraid of young men and their displays of masculine energy. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS. It is an attempt to make you see yourself as weak in comparison (and to demonize young men). You are just as powerful as those boys, who are beautiful and learning to use their new powers, just like you. FIND THE SIMILARITIES.
  7. The Internet is a powerful tool, but also highly addictive and potentially dangerous. Use it only within the very strict parameters Mom and I give you.
  8. Alcohol and drugs are also addictive and dangerous. You don't get to use them at all.
    BTW - and this applies to the Internet, too - yes, I am aware that you can do all sorts of stuff behind our backs. I don't care. My concern is you having a house to come home to that's safe, with rules. If you DO get caught "sneaking around," actions will be taken.
  9. Look for people who have what you want in life. Ask them how they got it. Be shameless and aggressive in asking them to be your mentor. This is absolutely, 100% the key to success.
  10. LEARN. ABOUT. MONEY. And ESPECIALLY listen to your mother about money, because she really knows what she's talking about.
  11. Your sexuality is a sacred gift. Choose who to share it with wisely. You can use it for power and attention, and you'll get those things. But use it that way thoughtlessly, or for too long, and it'll gradually change you in ways that hurt, real bad. Just like the ring did to Frodo and Gollum, remember?
    My daughters will have to deal with a lot of nerdy metaphors.
  12. You don't get to talk to other people about their race, religion or sexuality unless they bring it up to you. And even then, you only speak from your own experience, and always make sure to listen more than you talk.
  13. We are Americans. Americans live lives of historically unprecedented abundance and comfort. Be conscious of that when documenting your life on social media. Don't display aspects of your "perfect life" in order to instill envy in others. And don't complain about your problems without keeping in mind that your life is still perfect.
  14. Give other people the benefit of the doubt. Yeah, that classmate said something shitty to you. Yes, it's important to stand up for yourself. But then let it go. Maybe she was just having a bad day. Expect the best from her next time. (And don't feel bad if you're not up to this 100% of the time.)
  15. The media's job is to make you afraid; make you dislike yourself; and then sell you "the solution" for the very same negative feelings they just stirred up in you. DO NOT BUY INTO THIS.
  16. The entire world will tell you that you have no voice; and even if you did, it doesn't matter because nothing ever changes and it's all hopeless. This is a lie designed to discourage you because THEY ARE TERRIFIED OF THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF YOUR VOICE.
  17. You will see people around you "get ahead" by cheating, lying and treating others badly. This is a form of insanity that is not sustainable. These people crash and burn. Operate with kindness and integrity, and you will be the proverbial "one-eyed person in the kingdom of the blind." You'll be more successful than ALL of them.
  18. Any person whose choices can make or break your day... whose approval or lack thereof can make you feel worthless or worthwhile... has become your God. Your well-being is in their hands. No human being is up to the task of being your God. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, CAPABLE AND WORTHWHILE - REGARDLESS OF THE APPROVAL OF ANYONE ELSE.
  19. CHANGE THE OIL IN YOUR CAR WHEN THE LITTLE STICKER TELLS YOU TO. That's all you have to do to keep it running. Seriously!
  20. Always remember, in the back of your mind, that no matter what you do - I am your biggest fan. If you're excited about something, I'm excited about it too. I can't wait to see what you do next!