Reputation

Watching my children walk back into the classroom on the first day of school this week brought back memories of my own first days in a new grade. Would the teacher be nice? Would she like me? How hard would I have to work to show her I was smart? It never occurred to me that there was something called a reputation, and that each teacher already knew about each of us, based on school records, playground observation and staffroom gossip.

With this in mind, and perhaps to make it more conscious for your children, here are 20 things you can teach them about reputation:

  1. If you want to get a reputation for being brilliant, then you actually have to be brilliant.
  2. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is rubbish.
  3. Keep your promises. Being the kind of person others can count on makes people want to be with you.
  4. Don’t waffle. When you tell a story, don’t go via Durban. Make sure your point is made in three short sentences.
  5. Earning a good reputation is more difficult and more important than earning good money.
  6. Contribute. To the conversation, to the cause, to the kitty.
  7. Live in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, no one would believe them.
  8. Before you point fingers, make sure your hands are clean.
  9. If you make a mistake, own up. Do it quickly.
  10. Don’t ignore people. If someone wants your attention, give them a little and then make sure they earn the rest.
  11. If you get a reputation as a liar, you might as well not speak. Anymore. Ever.
  12. Choose your friends carefully. You can’t have a clean reputation when you hang out with messy people.
  13. Get up, dress up, show up, step up. Live outside your comfort zone.
  14. When you greet someone, look them in the eye. It speaks volumes for your self worth.
  15. Don’t talk about what you’re going to do. Actions speak louder than words.
  16. Listen. Make the person you’re with feel like they’re the only one in the room.
  17. People will never forget the first impression you made.
  18. If you’re a guy, choose a woman who prefers a good reputation over a good time.
  19. If you’re a girl, be more concerned with your character than your reputation.
  20. If you have no concern for your reputation, make sure you have an abundance of courage.

Have I missed any? What do you think are the most important things we can tell our children about creating and protecting their reputation?