1. Kids need boundaries. It's OK to be kind of a hard ass when you're a mom because kids really are craving limits. They hate that they have no control over anything, and on the surface they think they want you to give them control, but deep down inside they know they can't handle it and they're dying for someone to make things safe and reliable. Give them a safe place to grow. They'll thank you for it later. Thanks, Mom!
2. What works for you doesn't work for other people. Some people just don't like what you like, and they have the right to just be left alone to do their own thing if they aren't hurting anyone. And some people unfortunately just aren't as stable and sane as you are. It's nice to have ideals and to work to make the world better, but all people are flawed and some people are damaged. It would be an amazing world if everyone was able to do the right thing all the time and be super-human and moral, but that's never going to happen. Everyone needs help or limits or a kick in the pants (or just to be left alone) sometimes. None of this makes humanity a lost cause.
3. Having manners is really more about making other people feel comfortable and welcome than it is about following the "Rules." And I hate following the Rules!! But making other people feel comfortable and welcome sounds doable.
4. I don't know everything I think I do!
5. Your mother doesn't know everything she thinks she does, either! Or your father for that matter, or anyone else really. Everyone is just trying to figure it all out for themselves, even people you think are your heroes. Cut everyone some slack.
6. You should have an opinion. You have a right to your own mind and your own voice, and you should believe in your opinions and be able to defend them - without crying or attacking others. You have to argue logically and be able to back yourself up with facts. Be fair, but don't back down.
7. People are really interesting. Ask them lots of questions about themselves and listen to what they have to say.
8. You don't have to win everything. Sometimes you just have to get over the hurdle and finish the race. Nobody else cares whether you crushed it or not; they just want to know that it's done. Cross it off your list and move on with your life. (Actually I learned this from my Dad. He's pretty great, too.)
9. It's good to try things even if you're pretty sure you'll be terrible at it or hate it. I agree with this in theory, but it's something I'm almost pathologically incapable of doing. My parents pushed me to try anyway, and it's something I needed to hear from them.
10. How to pull homemade taffy! (Seriously. I don't know WHAT she was thinking! But it was fun.)