A Letter To My Tweens In The Event Of My Untimely Demise

by Anne Sawan
Originally Published: 
advice for my children
PeopleImages / iStock

Dear Children:

Should I die from heatstroke in the hot yoga class I am being forced to take tomorrow by my alleged “friends,” here is a list of 10 of the most important life lessons I want you to remember.

Love, Mom

1. DON’T be a shithead.

“Don’t be a shithead” is the most important piece of advice you will ever need in life. A shithead can best be summed up as a person who thinks they are better than everyone and therefore can act however they want without taking into account the feelings of others. Just think about it: ISIS, filled with shitheads; Nazis, shitheads; Westboro Baptist Church, shitheads; that girl in fourth grade who invited everyone in the class but you to her birthday party, shithead. And her parents are obviously also shitheads.

You will, unfortunately, find shitheads everywhere. They will be in your school, on your sports teams, sitting beside you in the movie theater, the coffee shop, the train, the airplane, the beach, maybe even at Thanksgiving dinner.

2. DON’T ever think you know the whole story.

The truth is, while some people are born shitheads, most are made that way by either crappy parenting or crappy events in their life. You never really know when someone acts unkindly to you what is going on in their life, so give people a second chance. After that, if they are still a shithead, move on.

3. DON’T let anyone push you around.

If some stupid bully on the playground hits you, hit them back. I know, I know, your teacher says, “Use your words.” Great. Here are some words to use (try to say this with a low and gravelly voice, like Liam Neesen): “Listen jerk, I don’t want to hurt you, but if you hit me again, I will hit you back and you won’t like it.” Now, if they hit you again, hit them back—hard. You tried to warn them, you used your words, and it didn’t work.

4. DON’T ever say, ‘I would NEVER…’

The truth is, we don’t know what we would say or do in certain situations. Don’t be too quick to judge others for how they respond in a situation you know nothing about. There are circumstances in life that cause us to become strangers even to ourselves.

5. DON’T do drugs.

Seriously, have you ever seen this particular life choice work out well for anyone? Ever? Elvis? Whitney Houston? Michael Jackson? The Rolling Stones? Okay, well maybe the Rolling Stones, but that’s it.

On to the 5 DOs:

6. DO check your teeth, shoes, and zipper before leaving the restroom.

Teeth, for wayward pieces of broccoli; shoes, for pieces of toilet paper that are quietly and grossly trailing along behind you; and zipper, to make sure it’s up and you don’t look like a creep.

And don’t forget to discreetly tell your friends when they have something stuck in their teeth or if their fly is down. What kind of a shithead wouldn’t tell their friend when something was in their teeth? Wouldn’t you want to know? A true friend tells you when something isn’t quite right, helps you out in a jam, and steps on that nasty piece of paper stuck to your shoe.

7. DO pass the ball.

Pass the damn ball! And I don’t mean to your best friend or the star player on the team. I mean to that kid who will probably miss it—the one who might fumble. Throw it to them and if they miss it, no big deal, this isn’t the NFL or the NBA. They just want a chance. Everyone wants to feel like part of the team.

8. DO surround yourself with people you can be yourself with.

Here’s the harsh truth: You tend to make mistakes, you are sort of strange, and sometimes you smell. You are no different than anyone else, and you better be with the people or person who will love you through all of that. I recently read about a woman who said she could never pass gas in front of her spouse because it would ruin their romance. Seriously? I have been married for almost 25 years, and personally, I just don’t have the energy to hold in all of the bad parts of me all of the time. Once in a while, the ugly and smelly just come out. It’s life. It’s humanity. It’s you. It’s me. It’s all of us.

9. DO say ‘yes’ when someone asks you to dance.

It takes a lot of courage to get up the nerve to ask someone to dance. They aren’t asking you to marry them. It’s just a dance for Pete’s sake! So don’t be a shithead—dance!

10. DO listen to old people once in a while.

We know a few things. We’ve been through hookups and breakups. We’ve done mean things and done the right things. We’ve been drunk and high and woke the next morning full of regret. We thought we knew the whole story, only to find out later that we didn’t actually know the story at all. We’ve worked up the courage to ask someone to dance only to be rejected. We’ve tried to hold in the stinky parts of us, only to realize we cannot. We have known shitheads and we have been shitheads. We know.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to my hot yoga class.

This article was originally published on