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One day I woke up and realized that my daughter would soon be leaving home—and that there was still so much I needed to say. So I started writing down the lessons that I wanted her to remember. That collection eventually grew to 365 original proverbs divided into eight categories: Character, Values, Love & Marriage, Sound Thinking, Practical Tips, Success, and The God Factor. The book begins with a heartfelt note from Dad to Daughter, and each chapter features a brief but deeply personal introduction.

Now that my own daughter is all grown up with a child of her own, this seemed like a good time to invite others to share whatever wisdom is contained in this collection. Though written for a young lady, few of the proverbs are actually gender-specific, and the timeless principles they embody point the way to a life well-lived, whether you belong to the greatest generation or the latest generation.


To My Darling Daughter:

All too soon now you’ll be leaving home, and your mom and I are desperately engaged in the ultimately impossible task of packing your soul’s suitcase full of everything you’ll need for the journey. This we do according to the ancient tradition of humankind—mothers nag and fathers give unsolicited advice. You’ve probably noticed.

Of all the wonderful things I hope for you the greatest is
godliness. Indeed, to be like God is the highest human aspiration, and only in that pursuit will you find your true self. But godliness is more than goodness; it is also wisdom. What follows is just a little starter kit for you to build on.

I suppose that wisdom itself is infinite, but, alas, mine is not. Even so, the time is too short for me to impart to you even that fraction of truth I think I’ve sorted out. So I borrowed God’s idea of writing down the things He really wanted us to remember and noted some of the lessons I’d like you to keep in mind.

These are not other people’s proverbs that I have collected but, rather, a few pieces of my own heart to yours. Of course, whatever truth is contained in these sayings didn’t originate with me; I merely stumbled upon it. Keep in mind that they are proverbs and, as such, generalizations. I’ll leave it to your own enlightened common sense to recognize the exceptions.

These 365 sayings amount to one a day for an entire year. I hope, though, that when you finish reading them you’ll start over, so that we can always be together, even when we’re far apart.




Sample Proverbs:
  • Pride quite naturally leads to prejudice, for those who think too much of themselves cannot resist thinking too little of others.
  • Habits that you control are virtues. Habits that control you are vices.
  • In reality, cleanliness is nowhere near to godliness. Nevertheless, it's still well ahead of filth.
  • Style can be expensive. Good taste is free.
  • Be a contributor or be somewhere else.
  • Fun is morally ambidextrous.
  • Marriage is forever, so when choosing a partner exercise at least as much caution as you would use if you had to pick a permanent hairstyle.
  • If you ignore injustice you become a moral accessory to its consequences.
  • Think critically but speak kindly.
  • The faith that is not hastily placed is not easily shaken.
  • Beware of logical lies.
  • Don't spend a lot of time to save a little bit of money.
  • When applying for a job—the younger you are, the more important it is to dress conservatively.
  • Don't mix apologies with excuses.
  • Shoulder the criticism; share the compliments.
  • When you greet an older man, shake his hand firmly. He'll be favorably impressed.
  • When your plans have failed talk to an optimist. When you feel that your plans are foolproof talk to a pessimist.
  • The worst thing you can say when you're angry is that which you're most likely to speak.
  • It's more important to prioritize than to organize. Doing your work efficiently does not mean that you are doing important work.
  • There is no safe passage to the extraordinary.
  • Fear is the fence around the world you live in.
  • Prayer is designed to be a first step in every activity of life, not a last resort.
  • Bad things do not come into our lives simply so that God can take them away, but so that he can show us that he matters more than anything else.