The last nine rules are life-goal rules. They have to do with choices you make concerning the way you live. Strive to do these the rest of your life.
NINETEEN* Stand up for what you believe. Don’t take “No!” for an answer if your heart and mind are leading you in a direction for which you feel strongly. If you are convinced you are right, take action! Be prepared to stick it out, but always consider the consequences of your actions. Remember, some noble actions have severe consequences. Remember the Alamo! and the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
TWENTY Have fun with everything you do! Choose your attitude every minute of every day! Be positive about life. Enjoy it! In the words of my generation: It’s a groovy trip, man! Some things just aren’t worth getting upset over. Keep everything in perspective, and focus on the good things in your life. If you dislike school, find a way to make school fun. Decide to “be” where you are and have a good attitude about it. The minute you are living right now is the only time you get to live it, so use it well! Live your life to the fullest, and live it to make others’ lives better. Don’t waste your time. Seize every opportunity that comes your way, and make the most of it. Get busy living or get busy dying! Carpe diem, baby!
TWENTY-ONE Aim high! Live so you won’t have any regrets. Choose your attitude! If there is something you want to do, find a way to make it happen! Never let fear or doubt or haters or other obstacles stand in your way. Struggle for it with all your heart. Go for it and don’t stop till you make it happen. If you always do what you always did, then you’ll always get what you always got. If you want different results, change something. Live to make your dreams come true!
TWENTY-TWO Mistakes happen; let them go! Choose your attitude! Accept the fact that you are going to make mistakes. We all make mistakes, even me. So what?! Don’t dwell on them. Learn from them. People of action learn from their mistakes. Please don’t cry about schoolwork. Cry about lost love; cry about children in the U.S.A. going hungry each night; cry about the ending to Matrix III… but don’t cry about schoolwork.
TWENTY-THREE If you make a promise, keep it. Do what you say you will do. Let your “Yes” mean Yes! and let your “No” mean No! Can you imagine what would happen in America if everyone who made a promise kept it? When you keep your word, people trust you. Parents trust you. Coaches trust you. Teachers trust you. Employers and bosses trust you. Boyfriends and girlfriends trust you. And when people trust you, you become very successful in whatever you attempt to do.
TWENTY-FOUR Choose to be an honest person. Never cheat and never lie. No matter what the circumstances, be honest. Even if you do something wrong, it is best to admit it to me, because often I will be more lenient when you tell me than when you try to cover something up. Middle school students who did not learn to be honest are the same people you see on COPS! every week. Those people go to jail (Jail is worse than middle school! Really! Also, jail has a dress code and the food sucks.)
TWENTY-FIVE Choose to do your best work all the time. Be a person of character by doing your best work every day—not perfect work, just your best work! When you complete something, ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do to make it better?” If there is, do it. There is nothing wrong with work – no matter what the work is!
TWENTY-SIX Change the world you touch for the better. Look around. This world could be better than it is. There is plenty to do. If you don’t know what to do, go to www.one.org. Plenty of ideas are listed there to end poverty and the suffering caused by poverty.
TWENTY-SEVEN Think! Think! Think! Use your brain and your life will fill up with every color of the rainbow. Amazing things start happening when you just start thinking. Try to think “outside the box!” Every invention, every philosophy, every great action, every work of art, and every social movement began as a thought. Never stop thinking!
©2019 Doug Hanks. All rights reserved.
* Most of my rules are based on the work of Ron Clark, whose book, The Essential 55 (Hyperion Books, ©2003 Ron Clark) was invaluable in formulating this list of rules. If I borrowed one of his original 55 rules, I have placed an asterisk(*) next to the number. Others are exclusive to my teaching style. Thanks to Richard Shetley, veteran teacher at Vineyard Junior High for his website and phrasing on certain rules (‘hostile attitudes,’ ‘cheat and I will catch you’) and Rule 7 which is so important in a crisis situation. I attempted to phrase the all the rules in a positive tone, but Rule 12 simply demands the negative.