Monday, November 14, 2005

Life Guidelines: Experience of a Father, for my Daughter

I am compiling guidelines I wish to convey to my daughter at some appropriate time in her life (she is five now). I try to live these and teach them when I can, but I want her to have a list she can reflect on when I am not around. My initial thought was to give them to her when she goes to college, but I think it will have to be much sooner than that in today's world. So here is what I have so far.

Life Guidelines: Experience of a Father, for my Daughter
by Anthony W. Arnold

  • Love God and follow Christ. The Bible will show you how.
  • LOVE!
  • Be happy. Ultimate happiness is found through the will of God.
  • Be kind. You will never regret an act of kindness.
  • Pray and talk to God about everything: your love, joy, sadness, pain, anger, frustration, temptation, confusion—everything. This personal relationship with the Father will save your life (read Psalms).
  • Virtue cultivates happiness, degradation of self breeds misery.
  • Crave righteousness and seek truth.
  • Thirst for wisdom and hunger for knowledge. Self-esteem and confidence are built in the pursuit of both.
  • Be passionate: in labor, in art, in music, in study, in relationships, and in love.
  • Cherish your salvation and your integrity. Compromise neither. The only one who can rob you of these is yourself.
  • Explore the world that God created before man destroys it.
  • You are special. Surround yourself with special people.
  • Recognize your weaknesses and surround yourself with those who can offset them (Proverbs 27:17).
  • Peer pressure is a farce. It is purely a method for others to justify their own doubtful behavior.
  • Do not confuse peer pressure with support or loving admonition. Know the difference, disregard the former and accept the latter.
  • Believe in the Holy Spirit and trust its exertions.
  • Every human will fail you at one time or another, but God will not. When humans do fail you, remember that God forgave them and let His Son die for them.
  • Holding onto grudges and anger requires your energy, not the energy of those toward whom it is directed.
  • Satan is real.
  • Satan cares not whether you believe in him or follow him. He cares only that you move one more step away from God. He has nothing to offer. He cannot give—only take.
  • God gave: His Son. God gives: Eternal life.
  • Your body is your gift to give. Give it in the ways of the Lord.
  • Please the Lord. If others are not happy with this, then it is their problem not yours.
  • You are created in the image of God. Therefore, you are beautiful!
  • Don’t let guilt consume you. There is no act you can do that Jesus has not already handled with His death. Nothing is too big for Him.
  • Do not attempt to be loved by everyone or by every action. Let your actions command respect. You can respect someone you do not love, but it is virtually impossible to love someone you do not respect.
  • Be kind and gentle, but firm. Be decisive and resolute in your morals.
  • Tolerate injustice only when it is done to you. Fight it when you see it being inflicted on others.
  • The only life you should value over another is the sacrifice of your own.
  • Forgiveness of a sin does not mean absolution from its consequences.
  • It is possible, despite modern opinion to the contrary, to take a moral stance with love and without being judgmental.
  • Force is power, but love is powerful.
  • Don’t agonize over not being able to change others. Sometimes it is enough just to be able to change yourself (Gipsie Ranney).
  • Physics, chemistry, and math are important. They describe how the universe works. God created the universe, therefore the understanding of these fields reveals a part of God.
  • Develop solid verbal and written communication skills. Without them, you can neither convey your point of view nor understand the point of veiw of others.
  • The definition of a simple life is peace of soul; contentment that is removed from circumstance. The path to it is through Christ.
  • Your strength is greater than you can possibly imagine. Unfortunately, you will only find this out when you think you have none left.
  • When you do not know what else to do, pray!

  • Copyright 2005 Anthony W. Arnold


    Purgatory Penman said...

    I would like to copy your list of life instructions and send them to my own daughter who has been deprived of a father's guidance.
    Meet me at

    Tony Arnold said...

    I have visited your blog. I look forward to reading more of it.

    I am honored that you feel this has value for your daughter. I also appreciate your asking permission rather than just doing so. You have my permission to send a copy to your daughter.

    I do ask that you include my name as author and the copyright statement at the end. I ask this because I have hopes of one day publishing some of my works.

    Thanks for the honor,


    JMG said...


    Tony Arnold said...

    JMG, I added one for you, one I have feel strongly about but failed to include. See the item after physics, chemistry, and math.


    Amanda said...

    Maria is one blessed little girl. :o)

    Malia said...

    And always, always, no matter what the circumstances, no matter how great the expense, not matter how long you have wait to see them win, always, always, root for the Commodores!

    But of course, she already knows that!

    I dare say that many of the guidelines on this list she will learn from you without you even having to say a word to her about them. That's because you and Anita model them for her everyday.

    crittermer said...

    Boo, Malia, boo. . .all truly holy people know that you're actually supposed to root for the Vols!

    Just kidding! Excellent list, Tony. There are lots of items on your list that I would be doing good to learn!

    jettybetty said...

    Great list Tony!
    I am with Malia--since I know you and Anita model this life--Maria will be blessed!

    I almost took your list as a test since parenting is behind me. I won't tell you my score--it's far from perfect--but I trust God's grace will fill in for us where we didn't get through what we wanted. I am thankful our kids have God as the perfect Father!

    Maria is one blessed little girl!

    jettybetty said...

    O yes,
    I hope you won't hold it against our parenting--since we raised a Vol!

    JMG said...

    That's a great addition, Tony!!

    Now, if they had only made chemistry, physics, and math relevant to me back in school....

    Tony Arnold said...

    JMG, that is the mark of great teachers. Those that make the subject have some level of interest or relevance to the student, otherwise the subject is a waste of time and resources.

    Thanks everyone for the kind words.

    Malia and Crittermer: yes my little already in completely indoctrinated in the Vandy fold, and she knows UT and orange is bad. The only day she did not want to go to kindergarten was on orange day, she didn't want to wear orange. I cried with pride. ;-)

    But, I openly admit this is not a life lesson, just one of the great rights of a parent to brainwash their child.


    erinlo said...

    I LOVE this, Tony. We have a list of "Family values" that we hoped to some day teach the boys, but I like yours better. May I use them also?

    Tony Arnold said...

    Be my guest. I am honored you think they have value.


    JMG said...

    All these changes to your blog are nice. What are you trying to do, get famous or something? :-)

    Tony Arnold said...

    What...I am not famous now? I live in dilusion, on my!

    It is the programmer in me coming out. I love fooling with the html language without ever having looked into formally. I miss programming code as part of my electrical engineering past. I love the company I work for and the work I do, but I will always be an engineer at heart.

    I wanted a wider page and I did not like the default list bullet the template provided. It was a pain modifying the template but it was fun tinkering with it. It would have been easy if I would sit down and learn the structure of html, but I just go off my knowledge of C and use the website HTML Tutorial for free help. I also use the right click, view source crutch on other blog sites, to see how to do stuff I don't know how to do.

    It would have been easier just changing to a different template, but I don't do things the easy way.

    Thanks for the compliment.