Things to Know Before Age 21 // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

A good friend recently gave me a stack of old newsletters and magazines dating back as far as the
early 1940’s. While digging through this historical gold mine, I discovered a real treasure which I
will pass on to you.
In a newsletter, dated August 5, 1953, I found a speech which had been recently presented at the
Y.M.C.A. in Cleveland, Ohio by Mr. G.L. Fels. It was entitled, “Things I Wish I had Known Before I was Twenty One.”

Although the young folks back then are senior citizens now, the message rings just as clear for young people today. This is what he said:
I wish I had known…
1. What I was going to do for a living — what my life would be like.
2. That my health after 30 depends in a large degree, on what I put in my stomach before age 21.
3. How to take care of money.
4. The advantage of being neatly and sensibly dressed.
5. That habits are hard to change after 21.
6. That a harvest depends on the seed sown. Wheat produces wheat, thistles bring forth thistles, rag weeds will spoil a good pasture, and wild oats, once sown will produce all kinds of misery and unhappiness.
7. Worthwhile things require time, patience, and work.
8. That you can’t get something for nothing.
9. That people will give me just about what I deserve.
10. That by the sweat of my brow would I earn my bread.
11. That a good education pays off in many ways.
12. That honesty is the best policy, not only when dealing with my neighbor, but also in dealing with myself and God.
13. The value of being absolutely truthful in everything.
14. The stupidity of not taking older people’s advice.
15. That Dad wasn’t as dumb as I thought he was. If I had done as he wished me to do, I would be far better off today.
16. What it really meant for my parents to raise me.
17. What hardships and disappointments would come when I left home against my parents’ wishes.
18. More of the helpful and inspiring parts of the Bible — particularly the four books dealing with the life of Christ

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