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The Rules of Life

Updated on March 12, 2010

For a while, I worked with kids that were in a Juvenile Correctional Facility.  What I learned was that most of these kids had at least one parent that had been incarcerated or suffered from mental illness, or had a physical disability (a real disability, like missing limbs).  Most of these kids came from neighborhoods where crime, violence, and drug use was the norm and a positive role model was difficult, if not impossible, to find.  It was evident that these kids seriously lacked direction in life had no framework for which base healthy decisions on.

I came up with a hand-out to give them what, I felt, might make them think a little if nothing else.  Unlike most of the things I tried to impress upon them, I think they actually took some time to contemplate it, and didn't dismiss it right off.  I hope that it made some positive impact.  The hand-out is as follows:

The Rules

Everyone comes up with their own rules for life. You may already have your own. Here is a sample that may give you ideas on what could be the most important things to remember in life. Some people might order these differently, find exceptions to them, or add or subtract some rules. Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide how you will live your life.

a) This includes suicide or accidentally dying while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
b) Gang life significantly increases your chances of dying.

c) Going to prison increases your chances of getting killed
d) Prison time keeps you from accomplishing better things for yourself.

e) Once addicted, you are no longer in control of your life, and it is a long hard fight to get that control back.
f) Addiction can lead to imprisonment and death.

g) You can gain a lot through cooperation.
h) It is important to have people you can trust and count on.

i) These things will give you direction in life. You will learn what is important to you and how to get it.
j) These things will also help you to make big decisions, like how to choose a wife or husband, or when to have children.
k) You will also learn how to avoid harmful things and situations, for example: Sexually Transmitted Diseases or certain kinds of cancer.

a) “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

l) Have a positive attitude
m) Create good self-esteem
n) Build good communication skills
o) Practice good self-control
p) Develop a healthy social network of friends and family
q) Discover a fun and fulfilling hobby
r) Practice good coping skills when dealing with tough problems
s) Practice good goal-making and goal-completion skills (helps self esteem)
t) Get a fulfilling job
u) Stay healthy – both mentally and physically
v) Don’t wait too long to ask for help

a) Personal Responsibility is involved in all these rules of life.


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    • FCEtier profile image


      11 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Interesting commentary and I loved the top photo!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very good list! Very similar to ideas I share with high school students (I volunteer at a local YMCA). Stay out of prison, stay away from drugs, don't do things that will get you killed or seriously injured/disabled, and also don't get pregnant until you or your partner are ready. Any one of these things can majorly alter your life plans.


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