Even in a lightning fast digital world, the tradition of passing down wisdom from older to younger is just as important as ever. Which is why we’ve spent the last several months dreaming about the answer to the question: What advice do you wish you could give to your 10-year-old self?
Never do your homework in a room with no windows.
It’s a quote from our new Wise Words For Kids book. So, I’ve taken the advice, and I am sitting on the terrace looking out at autumn as I write these words. I have a big green cardigan on for warmth and a glass of Spanish red for comfort.
It’s working. Must be good advice.
Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
I’m really proud of this new book. I believe it to be important, while not getting too carried away with its own importance. It’s fun. But it also delivers something quite special: advice from one generation to the next.
And they can revisit it over time. Because it’s not a Facebook post, an emoji-filled text, or a lost email. It connects generations: it’s filled with emotion, and it lasts.
See people with your heart as well as your eyes.
How would I use the book?
Well, I’m in my late 40s, living and working in Spain. I have friends and family in the UK, and a bunch of them have kids. I get to be that Uncle arriving “home” with arms full of gifts. There’s a lot of love, and it’s great to spend happy times together. But it is never long enough.
The book would help me to be a longer-lasting small part of their lives, sharing my thoughts way after my flight back to Spain has been boarded.
Sometimes it’s the princess that kills the dragon and saves the prince.
What’s the best bit of advice in the book? If you ask me, I especially love this quote about the princess.
It goes against so much of the stereotypical pink-or-blue, action-man-or-baby-doll wallpaper that’s already out there. It’s good for both boys and girls to know that they don’t have to live up to the crap that the media feeds them.
But in truth, it’s the quotes that we haven’t written that will make each book really special. Every page is editable, so people can write their own thoughts – and these will be the ones that hit home. These will be the ones that mean the most.
Smart adults are always learning. You can be a teacher.
What have I learnt from helping to make this book? So many of the quotes and thoughts in the book are also relevant to my world and myself.
In giving sage, fun, heartfelt, and sometimes moving advice to children, I have realized that sometimes adults can miss the simplicity of what it means to be a good person. It’s been an honestly cathartic experience.
I really hope this happens to other people when they make the book.
And – to quote the book one last time – I hope that everyone ends up “throwing kindness around like a bouncy ball.”
So – what do you wish someone had told you when you were ten years old?