Family & Education

Dear Next Generation: ‘Grandpa’s Dozen’ and Career Advice

TIMEDecember 27, 2021

I wrote this list when blessed with having, from my daughter and son-in-law, three grandsons (my son later added another grandson). This list, to me, has stood for at least a short test of time as the grandsons are now ages 8 to 13.

Every item in “Grandpa’s Dozen” is worthy of a discussion, and every item advances in the value of its messaging as they mature.

I still remember No. 7, which was told to me by my dad before going to a school dance. It was in Kansas, and I was a grade-schooler. I don’t recall even being interested in girls then. But something in Dad’s demeanor told me that he meant business in his advice. This single admonishment has served me for about 55 years.

If I do my part, the attached list will do far more good for my grandsons than I received from my father and certainly more than either grandfather, as they were absent. And this signals zero ill will, only gratitude that I may leave the next generation better than myself.

Grandpa’s Dozen for the Hereth Boys

1. Respect and honor God so you may have lifelong inner peace.

2. Vertical alignment: God, country, family, work.

3. Tell the truth.

4. Be an American.

5. Love and honor your parents.

6. Respect all men. And be willing to earn their respect. “Earn their respect, and they may love you. Have their love without respect, and you will lose their love.”

7. Be nice to girls.

8. Work first, play second.

9. Work ethic. Push yourself beyond what you think is your best, physically and mentally. Reach to your own standards, which eclipse petty competition (this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy good-spirited competition).

10. Know the value of setting goals. Set some goals so grand, so high, they take a lifetime to achieve.

11. Excel. You’re on a global stage. Don’t judge your success by your peers alone.

12. Give me a hug as a sign of respect for your elders.

Jeff Odland, Idaho


I’m now (almost) fully retired, but I thought that you may be interested in career advice that I shared with my students at the University of Pennsylvania when I taught environmental courses there as a second career (my first career was with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). The students seemed to appreciate the advice, especially the last bullet!

Career Guidance

The following is part “lessons learned” from years of personal experiences and observations of others. It’s also part personal philosophy on how to enjoy your career.

1. Decide what’s most important to you—maximizing your income, saving the world, significant amounts of free time—and develop your career objectives based on these priorities.

2. Do what you enjoy. You’ll be more successful working on what you like, and satisfaction, recognition, and money will probably follow.

3. Aim high. In whatever you do, try to be the best. “Shoot for the moon—even if you miss, you will land among the stars.”

4. Work hard, be persistent, and persevere—everyone has setbacks: view yours as learning experiences.

5. Have fun, maintain a sense of humor and adventure, and take your work seriously—but not yourself.

6. Never stop learning new skills, new perspectives, and new ideas. “Move on” if you aren’t learning.

7. See the best in people: stay “above the fray,” be positive, and follow the Golden Rule.

8. Get out of your comfort zone: take some risks—work at places that allow for some risk-taking.

9. Maintain balance in your life—spiritual growth, family, friends, health.

10. Help others. There were many who helped you. Give freely.

11. Give credit to others, collaborate, and reach out to others.

12. Work for smart, positive, and caring people.

13. Learn by observing others (both positive and negative lessons).

14. Recognize a higher being and the unique gifts that you were given.

15. Most importantly, if these principles don’t make sense, throw them out and follow your own beliefs! Best wishes for a great career and a wonderful life!

Stan Laskowski


What advice would you like to give to the younger generations?

We call on all of our readers to share the timeless values that define right and wrong, and pass the torch, if you will, through your wisdom and hard-earned experience. We feel that the passing down of this wisdom has diminished over time, and that only with a strong moral foundation can future generations thrive.

Send your advice, along with your full name, state, and contact information to or mail it to: Next Generation, The Epoch Times, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001