What's the best advice you ever received?

My eldest son is graduating from college this weekend, and for the last month I've been working on writing a note to put in with his graduation present. How do you squeeze over 22 years of advice and love into a couple of inches of white space?

I wrote about this, and motherhood, for my column this week in TribLocal. I've got a list going, but it still doesn't seem right.

Wash your hands often. Always say please and thank you. Be respectful of your elders. When you make a mistake, admit it and apologize. Hands are not for hurting. No means no. Appreciate the gifts you've been given. Be generous. Remember that we're all the same inside, except for White Sox fans, who are obviously aliens from another planet. Don't drink and drive. Don't get into a car when the driver has been drinking. Keep current with the news. Make time to read for pleasure. Treasure your friends. Temper trust with caution. Love unconditionally.

Work hard. Be happy. Have fun.

So...I'm wondering if my (4? 5?) ChicagoNow readers can help me out. What is the best advice you were given as a young adult? Conversely, what do you wish someone had told you?

I'm looking forward to hearing your suggestions, and...thanks.

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  • Best advice I ever got came from my dad: Learn to type.

    I owe my initial jobs to that advice and can safely say my career would have been different if I had never learned or put off learning to type until later.

    He also gave me a variation on "work hard" which was "make your boss look good." By that he meant do your job well, be dependable and be trusted. Still amazes me how important those words were to me.

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    In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    My mom made me take typing my freshman year of high school, and I've always been thankful. I made all my boys take it, too, after a late night deciphering my son's handwriting for a paper that was due the next day and HAS TO BE TYPED, MOM, SO CAN YOU DO IT FOR ME? (Asked at 10:30pm)

    Anyhoo. They're all glad I made them take it. Now.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    The best advice that I ever got was from my mom who said don't let them know that you can type. As a female (early 70's), this served me well. It won me a job at WBBM-TV as an on-air promotion producer (my first job out of college) with a "typing pool" doing my typing giving me time to write/edit/create...and join the bosses for those famous three martini lunches. I wouldn't recommend this for the new millennium but it has served me well.

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    If you are man enough to drink, you need to be an enough to get up and go to work the next day on time, sober and with the ability to contribute.

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    If you are man enough to drink, you need to be man enough to get up and go to work the next day on time, sober and with the ability to contribute

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    In reply to Scott Troy:

    Or woman enough!

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    JImmy gave great advice on The Twitter: Wear sunscreen. True dat.

  • I like: Every dog has his day - you're going to get crapped on a lot out there, but it's not your responsibility to make sure those people pay. It will come back to the dogs eventually

  • Don't post in comments sections.... Oh, DANG IT!

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