White Knight

Basil Beighey

15 Rules for Teenage Boys

September 12, 2012

by

Basil Beighey
Teenage boys are at a pivotal point in their lives.
Teenage boys are at a pivotal point in their lives.

Leaving childhood behind and entering manhood is not an easy transition for an adolescent male. Both your body and your thoughts are in a state of flux and confusion — a state that will not fully resolve until you are well into your twenties. As you leave adolescence and begin to enter manhood there are a few rules you would be wise to observe. Failing to heed any of the following rules can lead to mistakes that at best, will retard your advancement and at worst, will destroy your potential for future peace and success. Please remember you are not special in the sense that you are “above the rules.” As stated in the movie North Dallas Forty, “Seeing through the game is not the same as winning the game.” Knowing is not doing. To be successful, you must have the wisdom to understand and the discipline to execute.

1 – Men Are Responsible 

The major differentiator between a man and a boy is that a man accepts responsibility for his actions. Know that you are the sum of your deeds — take responsibility for them. Consider carefully the choices you make. Before you act, consider the consequences; know that men are held accountable.

2 – Guard Your Character

My great aunt often told me that my character was my most valuable asset and it must be guarded at all cost. She was right. Your character is an invisible bank account on file with everyone you know. This bank account, however, is filled with trust, instead of money. Ultimately, you will learn, trust is infinitely more valuable than money. How do you build your character? Never lie, cheat, or steal is a good way to start. Also, do what you say you will do and be mindful not to make any promise you can’t keep. Beware, good character is not like a coat you can put on and take off. Character is built slowly over time. It is ingrained in your very core and will be reflected in everything you do and say. Guard your character. It can be destroyed in seconds through one inconsiderate action. Other people of good character are adept at spotting cues in your language and your actions indicating the quality of your character. They can’t be fooled, so don’t try. Simply be a gentleman of good character at all times and it will invisibly work for you every minute of every day.

3 – Make School Count

You are entering your high school years. You have no choice but to be there, so make it count. With regard to studying, these years set the tone and tempo for your college and graduate years. High school, is relatively easy. There is no reason not to get an “A” in every class. Focus on developing good study habits. Use every “scrap” of time during school hours to get homework done and always finish homework before engaging in leisure activities such as TV watching or game playing. Finishing at the top of your class will ensure you have the option to attend a “brand name” College if you wish.

4 – Respect the Relationship Between Mind and Body

Psyche and Soma – Mind and Body, are two sides of the same coin. You cannot be the best you can be if either is ignored. What the mind harbors, the body will manifest. Likewise, a strong and tireless body leads to a stronger, more confident mind. Place equal importance on the development of each. Respect your body as the temple of your spirit. Pay attention to the things that nourish it and avoid the substances that degrade or destroy it.

5 – Engage in an Individual Sport for Life

When I was young, I made the mistake of dividing my attention between four sports: Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Tennis. This was a big mistake. A young man is much better served by focusing on one sport “year round.” By focusing and practicing one sport year round, you dramatically improve your chances to compete at the highest level. Also, while the big stadium team sports (football, basketball, soccer, etc.) present your best chance for “fame” in high school, individual sports such as golf, swimming, running, or tennis will serve you better in three respects. First, because these are “sports for life,” you can participate in them your whole life long. This will be important as you age and require a physical activity to keep your body robust. Second, individual sports eliminate any possibility of “favoritism” or “nepotism” blocking your ascension to the highest level possible. And Third, with few exceptions, individual sports do not require anyone else to practice. This flexibility allows you to practice as much as you want.

6 – Understand the 10,000 Hour Rule

The book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell repeatedly refers to 10,000 hours as the minimum amount of time needed to achieve proficiency at the highest level in any activity. Want to be a concert pianist? Practice 10,000 hours — it’s that simple. Practice three hours a day for ten years, and you have a chance to make it to center court. Start now and by the time you’re in your mid-twenties, you could be a “pro” at anything you wish.

7 – Perfect Practice Makes Perfect 

Sadly, it’s not enough to simply “put in your time” with regard to the 10,000-hour rule. You must strive to practice “perfectly.” This means you must constantly be looking for new and better ways to improve your skills. Look to those who have already achieved success at the highest level for advice. Read books, watch documentaries, search the internet for answers, and always network. Strive to make your practice perfect.

8 – Read and Write

Everyone knows that reading is important. The knowledge of the ages is in print and at your fingertips via your keyboard and the internet. But few appreciate the importance of writing. In your quest for completeness, writing is equal to reading in importance. Writing forces you to organize your thoughts and truly understand yourself and your arguments. On another level, writing is the supreme instrument of communication. You can be the smartest person in the world, but if you cannot communicate your thoughts, you’ll die in obscurity. Don’t fear writing. Like everything in life, it gets easier with practice. The first sentence is always the hardest. Heed the advice of Ernest Hemingway: “Begin by writing the truest sentence you know”. Don’t be afraid to expose your thoughts. It is only through the exchange of ideas, the defense of your ideas, and debating of opposing viewpoints, that knowledge is gained. Read and write every day.

9 – Work for Love, Not Money

The surest path to hell is to work for money. Most people work all their lives at a job they don’t like to get to a point financially when the can retire and do what they want. I suggest you follow your passion, do what you love every day. Forget about the foolish myth that doing nothing will bring you happiness. Even wealthy, retired people get bored and must do something to fill the hours. Fill your hours with whatever productive activity interests you. If you love to golf, work at a golf course picking up range balls, then play for free. If you like to travel, fill a backpack and hitchhike around the country or work on a freighter to pay for your passage to Asia. It’s amazing how little it takes to get by when you don’t care about anything except what you love. Opportunities to earn money doing what you love will present themselves and you’ll be in a better position seize them if your in that place.

10 – Keep Your Load Light

The corollary to rule #6 is to keep your load light. In order to be free to do what you love, you must keep your possessions to a bare minimum. “Stuff” is a free man’s enemy. The more “things” you accumulate, the more time, effort, and money you must spend maintaining them. Most people are imprisoned by their possessions. Until age thirty, you should have no more stuff than you can fit in a small hatchback car or minivan. If you must have furniture, buy old used stuff you can walk away from in a pinch. Drive a car you can abandon if necessary. Own no more clothes than you can fit in a suitcase or backpack. Owning little frees you to seize opportunities wherever they may be. The only necessities in these times are a good laptop and a smartphone. When your editor offers you an opportunity to cover the African wildebeest migration, you can grab your backpack and go. Think like Luke Skywalker, only carry a lightsaber.

11 – Stay Liquid

Never use credit or borrow money unless it’s to buy an asset that returns more than it costs. In short, never borrow money to buy personal assets such as TVs, appliances, furniture, or any other “thing” that doesn’t return a profit. Think twice about financing a car. It’s much better to buy a “junker” for cash. Any debt you accumulate will work as an anchor on your personal freedom. Accumulating debt increases the “weight” of your load and encumbers movement both physically and professionally. Live at home as long as possible to avoid unnecessary expenses. Conversely, your savings equates to liquid freedom. The more you save, the more freedom you’ll enjoy. Savings enable you to seize opportunities. Avoid debt like a disease and save as much as possible.

12 – Build Your Career, Then Build Your Family

As you follow your passion, you will inevitably discover opportunities to earn a living doing what you love. Fully develop your career before you attempt to build a family. Let me be more straight forward — do not get married or cohabitate with a partner before your thirtieth birthday, or before your career is fully established. Women are beautiful creatures and someday you’ll invite a princess to join you in your kingdom, but until your “kingdom” is established, don’t think about it. You must be at least thirty years old before getting serious with a partner. Neither you nor your partner knows who or what you are until at least age thirty. You will change, she will change, your values will change, her values will change, and you must be free to travel unencumbered. Don’t buy into the myth that love conquers all. It doesn’t. It usually doesn’t even last. What you will mistake for “love” in your teens and twenties is only sexual lust. Do what you must do to pass the time, but do not get involved, do not get married, and by no means, do not have children before your thirtieth birthday and then only if your career is established. Remember the old joke, love is grand, divorce is about a hundred grand.

13 – Attract Women With Wealth and Power

Regardless of what you’ve heard in movies and storybooks, ultimately women are attracted to men that can provide them safety and security. At face value, this sounds a mercenary, but it’s a good thing and it is relative. It’s relative in the sense that you’ll always be “richer” than someone. It’s a good thing in the sense that if she’s looking to you for security, she needs you. This is another reason for rule #9. Once you know where your career is headed, you have a fairly realistic idea regarding your income expectations. You can then better select a mate that will be happy and satisfied with your station in life. For instance, if your passion is archeology, by age thirty, you’ll have a fairly good idea what lifestyle your future partner can expect. Then, select accordingly. Beware of marrying above your station in life, women can do it, men can’t. The odds dictate that any woman marrying below her station is only trying to shock her parents. Don’t be part of that misadventure. She will tire of your lack of means and leave you for a wealthier model. Worse, she may constantly badger you to improve (change) your position or accept “help” from family and friends. It will always end badly. Conversely, marrying at or below your station in life offers a much better probability that your future mate will be satisfied. Also, beware of ambitious women that would use you as a “stepping stone” and move on. Avoid women that aspire to build careers. Look for a mate that’s sweet, nurturing, and fully appreciates your station and career.

14 – Raise Your Children

The decision to have children is going to be the most important decision you’ll ever make. Raising children is an incredible responsibility, an enormous amount of work, and a huge financial obligation. Be careful not enter into this obligation “flippantly” or “accidentally.” You may ruin or retard many lives, including yours. Raising a child can either be the greatest joy, or the greatest burden you’ll ever realize. Take care to ensure it’s the former and not the latter. Should you decide you want children, first, make sure your career and marriage are solid. Assess your financial situation to ensure you can reasonably afford to support a new being in your household. Consider all costs in terms of money and time. Reach an agreement with your wife regarding the raising of the child. Clarify the responsibilities and discuss the values you will eventually impart to your offspring. Avoid daycare at any cost. Choose a wife that relishes the opportunity to raise children. Subcontracting the raising of children to disinterested third parties is a sin and those that engage in the practice bear children for selfish reasons. Bear offspring with the intention of creating individuals more loving and capable than yourself. If you don’t want to spend time with them, don’t have them.

15 – Consider Self Employment

Like playing an individual sport, self-employment ensures no one can hold you back, limit your potential, or determine your destiny, except you. Self-employment engages you in the American Dream – risking capital and engaging your creativity to hopefully reap unlimited rewards. Self-employment means rising each morning and deciding for yourself what is important and how you will invest your time. Self-employment means employing others to leverage your creativity and energy in the service of your vision. Speaking from experience, no job can approach the satisfaction of building a business that provides a valuable product or service that improves the lives of others.

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2 Responses

  1. Excellent read. I do have a question. My son is 19 years old. He is finished his training as a heavy equipment operator and has his AZ license. He regrets taking this training as it has put him in debt and for the last 8 months has been doing physical labour. He still lives at home, and the only rules that has to follow is no drinking or drugs on our property, and treat everyone with respect. We have given him 1/2 dozen chances to follow the rules but he continues to try to hide alcohol etc. He gets up every morning to go to work on time which is a plus. His reason for drinking is he feels stressed and it helps him sleep, but this is every evening and at least 6 beers plus. Is it time to kick him out and should we give a little time to find his own apartment? Looking forward to your advise.

  2. Steve,

    Thanks for reading and posting your comment.

    I’ve had a lot of experience with alcohol. I owned and managed a night club and a neighborhood bar for over 12 years. During that time, I observed many customers consuming various amounts of alcohol for many reasons.

    Habitual drug or alcohol consumption is usually a form of self-medication and a symptom of a deeper issue. Your son is probably right. The alcohol helps him to mask the mental pain that is keeping him awake at night. He’s feeling helpless, stalled, and confused. The problem is, that masking the pain will never cure that underlying issue and six cans of beer a night is not healthy under any circumstances.

    The challenge for you as a loving father is to try to get your son to examine the underlying cause of his chronic dissatisfaction. To cure it, he must address it, instead of retreating into a medicated state.

    At 19, your son is a young man and deserving of more respect and latitude than a child or adolescent. You are his father, and he is still living under your roof, so you do have the upper hand. You can banish him from your home if you think necessary. But exploiting those advantages to “discipline” him like a child in his present weakened state (discouraged and broke) may only cause resentment and further deepen the divide between you.

    I suggest treating him like a man, an equal. Don’t lecture him. Frame your conversation as a loving concern for his health and wellbeing. Don’t be afraid to expose your inner feelings, fears, and concerns for his future. Your life experience compels you to intervene. You’ve seen this behavior before in friends, relatives, or acquaintances, and you know where it leads. Tell him you love him and you’re concerned for selfish reasons. You would feel like you “let him down” if you didn’t try to communicate the potential consequences of his present actions. Your honesty and vulnerability will open a door, and pull him closer.

    Explain to him in a loving way that he is young and healthy. It’s normal to be confused at his age. He has lots of time to recover from any mistakes he’s made. The important thing is for him to examine his assets and his desires, then decide what kind of man he wants to be in thirty years.

    Explain to him that small changes in his current behavior will result in large changes in his fortune down the road. Every day builds on the previous day, for better or worse. We can choose to get a little bit better, or a little worse each day.

    Every journey begins with a plan. A plan can be as simple as a pad of paper and a pencil. Tell him to make a list of goals. Put completion dates beside each goal. Then cut those dates in half and decide where you have to be at that time to accomplish the goal. Cut those dates in half and continue until you know what you have to do tomorrow to be on your way.

    Explain in a loving way that the two or more hours he spends drinking and watching TV each night is a huge expense. Put it in perspective. 2 hours times 365 days in a year equals 730 hours a year! That’s over 18 work weeks that could be spent on improving his situation. And this doesn’t even consider the money spent on beer or the health benefits.

    Suggest using the time to read “how to” books or to watch instructive video on YouTube. I’m so jealous of kids these days. The whole world is at their fingertips. Anything you want to know is on YouTube or the internet.

    It may interest you to know that at one time I was in the grading business. I loved Tonka trucks as a kid and I thought it would be fun. I just went out and bought a Case 580 Super E backhoe, used dump truck, and an old trailer. It was surprisingly easy, as easy as buying a car. I then got on the phone and called contractors and plumbers (for pipe trenching) to offer my services. In no time at all, I was busy all the time, trenching, doing demolition work, cleaning up construction trash, etc. I worked that business for three years and made a decent living. I could have easily expanded the business by buying more equipment. But in the end, I decided I wasn’t really happy doing it. I sold the business because I didn’t like being dirty and greasy every day (lots of grease fittings on a backhoe). You have to really like dirt, grease, and working outside in cold weather to be in the grading business. If you like the lifestyle, however, a lot of those guys become millionaires.

    Anyway, Steve, good luck with your son. Sometimes raising children is paradoxical. The opposite of your initial reaction is actually the most productive course of action. Tell your son you love him, you want to be the best parent you can be, and you want to help him achieve his goals. Tell him you want to help him be a better man than you and see what happens.

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Basil Beighey
1005 River Mill Circle
Roswell, GA 30075

+1  404-451-3929
BasilBeighey@icloud.com
www.linkedin.com/in/basilbeighey
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Basil Beighey
1005 River Mill Circle, Roswell, GA 30075

+1  404-451-3929  |  BasilBeighey@icloud.com  |  www.linkedin.com/in/basilbeighey  |  Sitemap