1. The art of sneaking food into the movies.
Buy soda, candy, and popcorn for a family of four from the concession stand? Easily $70.
Buy the same soda, candy, and popcorn from the gas station half a mile down the road? $15.
Two important lessons can be taken from this: Be frugal with money, and never trust corporations to have consumer interests at heart.
2. The proper way to Facebook-stalk a crush without them noticing.
There is a right way to Facebook-stalk someone (discreetly) and a wrong way. The wrong way involves liking photos or statuses from months ago, on the pages of people you don’t know, or mentioning in real life that you were on their profile page.
This is good practice for knowing how future employers will be looking at your kids on Google and what controversial content they should hide from prying eyes.
3. And the best angle to take a deceptively attractive selfie to catch said crush.
First impressions count. Whether on Facebook or OKCupid, what a person looks like will create a snap judgment. Best to make sure it’s a favorable one.
4. It’s OK to lie to protect someone’s feelings.
Grandma is old and loves you and doesn’t need to know that handmade sweater went straight in the Goodwill bin. Also, Santa is totally real.
Little white lies are the grease that keeps society moving, and the better you are at them, the easier work and marriage will be.
5. If the law really cared about illegal fireworks, there wouldn’t be so many stores right across the state line.
Sometimes rules are made to be broken.
And sometimes, if enough people stand together against an unfair rule, it will be overturned. Take a stand!
6. Wear thick-soled sneakers and surreptitiously stand on the balls of your feet at theme parks.
An inch or less under the minimum height requirements will not lead to imminent death. Kids should learn to take safe risks early in life so that bigger risks later — like moving across the country or changing careers — will seem less terrifying.
7. Lying about your age is OK. Twelve is a good age to be.
Free is always better. And age is just a number.
Plus, it’s good practice for lying about their age down the road to get into bars or, even later in life, to get the senior discount.
8. Speed limits are suggestions. No cop will pull you over for doing 5mph more.
Keeping up with the flow of traffic is important and gets everyone to their destination more quickly. Cops are more likely to pull over the person going really fast — or really slow — for being suspicious.
This is important to know later in life when being a societal sheep might grate on their sense of individuality. Unless they’re taking a stand (see No. 5), drawing attention can lead to unwanted consequences.
9. Just because the sign says the hotel pool closes at 10 p.m. doesn’t mean you can’t jump the gate.
There’s never a lifeguard on duty anyway, so it doesn’t matter if it’s 2 a.m.
A healthy dose of skepticism is an essential life skill.
10. On a special occasions, with adult supervision, it’s OK to try the champagne/wine/beer.
A healthy appreciation, not a demonization, of alcohol keeps rebellious teens from drinking enough tequila to kill a horse.
This also teaches kids two of the hardest and most important lessons of all: moderation and disappointment. Sometimes a thing you thought would be amazing turns out to be gross.