Hi Minerva. My name’s Andy Smith. I, along with my wife Lucy and a few lucky others have been chosen by your parents to help guide you through your life. I’d never heard of guide parents before because I’m ignorant of many things. I’m also forgetful, as both Ben and Sophie told me why they chose to have guide parents and not god parents for you and I have no idea why. Sorry.
So here I am, burdened with the minor task of being there for you if things get tough. All of your guide parents are varied in their abilities (like the X-Men) and I’d like to think that we each bring something unique to the table. I, for example, bring the written word because it’s my strength. Therefore I’ve decide to take this random smattering of letters and words to construct sentences and paragraphs which will dovetail into something that you may be able to treasure for ever. Or laugh at. I really don’t care.
Anyway, here’s some key advice for you. Carefully written in numbered form because I think it’s easier to read that way. Hopefully by the time you’re 16, human society will have developed a better form of communication that allows people to convey their thoughts and feelings with complete accuracy. Maybe through telepathy, or possibly just through the use of emoticons because society has crumbled to the point that there is no longer any fucking hope left. My fingers are crossed for the former which leads me nicely on to my first point:
1) Never give up hope.
Human beings have a surprising capacity to endure absolutely horrific things and actually become a better person from it. Back in 2016 there was this girl called Malala Yousafzai who, four years earlier, got shot in the fucking head just because she thought that girls should be able to have an education. She was 15 years old.
Having survived she is now 19, campaigns for rights for women and won a noble prize in 2014 for her work. Fingers crossed she has made a greater impact by the time you read this as she’s a massive inspiration for me.
There are thousands of people in the world who have inspired me, far more so then the ones that I abhor. When you are feeling low please look to those people and remember that there is always hope.
2) Don’t be too hard on yourself.
The world is perfectly capable of making you feel like shit. Don’t add your own worries to it. One of the best things that ever happened to me was to fail an A-Level exam. I retook and passed it in the following year and then went on to study at a different university. Because of that failure I ended up meeting my wife, my best mates and inadvertently, you.
I could have given up after the A-Level failure and I felt pretty shit at the time. But by being kind to myself (and having very supportive parents) I managed to get through what was a low point in my life. Even better I turned that failure into a win.
It’s the only guaranteed way to get you through things when hope fades and you are being too hard on yourself. It’s like adrenaline, or the eagles at the end of the Lord of the Rings movie. Laughter with friends in particular is one of the best ways to deal with stuff. For the record I have an appalling amount of stuff on your dad so if you ever need a good laugh you know where to come to. Also you have to love Alan Partridge or you’re dead to me.
4) Never stop listening and learning.
Your education is the best passport for your future success. That education may be self taught or through traditional schooling but I can safely say that you will have a miserable existence if you don’t listen and learn from other sources – particularly those with different views. Keep challenging yourself, keep your mind open and never presume that you know everything about a subject.
5) Your parents are sometimes wrong because humans make mistakes.
There’s nothing more to add to that sentence above.
6) Explore, experience and become a better person.
The world is a huge place. Try and get out of your home town. Try and go to as many countries as possible. Get drunk, do some borderline illegal things. Have fun and do some things that you regret, but don’t go too far and end up in prison or with aids. Try and keep it legal but most people have broken the law to some extent. And for the record I used to be a voluntary policeman but gave it up because I realised I was being a massive hypocrite.
7) Love can be summed up in one line from the film Wedding Crashers:
“True Love is your soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another” – Owen Wilson.
8) When I get old I’ll need you to look after me as I probably won’t have kids.
Obviously the most important thing of all. I like nachos, beer and old 80’s action movies. I’ll need an armchair and company a couple of times a week. You also need to develop a love for 80’s films, nachos and beer. Watch the film Gran Torino and then join me on my porch where I’ll be busy hating the world. Thanks buddy.
9) NEVER SURRENDER DREAMS.