Parenting for the Launch What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18

A Special Message to Educators

In an increasingly complex and competitive world, our educators are being challenged like never before in preparing graduates for success.  Some of this stems from the fact that there is no universal definition of excellent, comprehensive preparation for independent life!  It is also complicated by confusion over who is responsible for what. 


A good and timely example involves personal finance.  We are witnessing an American tragedy because of inadequate financial management training.  Should this critical subject be the purview of our educational institutions or is it the parents’ responsibility?  Simply stated, there is too much at stake when we don’t have a clear answer to that question.  Yet, it’s obvious that this subject is often falling through the cracks.


This is but one example where “book smarts” aren’t translating into “life smarts” for too many of our graduates.  The reasons are many: 1) educators don’t always provide life skills courses as part of their curriculum, 2) educators and parents don’t have a mutual understanding of who “owns” which life skills topics, and 3) more students come from single parent families facing enormous challenges of making it all work.  The end result is that many graduates are ill-prepared for independent life and all of its decisions and responsibilities.  When it comes to life, they’re failing to make the grade.


I wrote What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead in order to help parents, educators, social organizations, and religious institutions fill the life skills gap and prepare our students for inspired lives of success.  Written as a conversation with 18-year olds, but just as relevant for adults, the book is a compendium of life success principles for graduates as they ready for independent life.  Described as a “Cliff notes to a successful life,” it covers an array of subjects such as life purpose, character, relationships and communication, handling adversity, spiritual growth, personal productivity and effectiveness, college academics, career selection and advancement, love and marriage, and managing finances.  Whether from illustrations or instruction, readers will have a solid understanding of what it takes to build a successful life before the fact.


Among the key topics covered in the book are:

  • How to discover your life purpose
  • How to define success
  • What are the most admirable character traits
  • How your attitude and disposition will influence your success
  • Keys to working well with people in a team setting
  • Elements of a strong spiritual life and what it can offer you
  • How to accept and handle adversity
  • How to maximize your personal productivity and manage your time
  • How to transition to the college academic environment
  • A “killer” study method that works!
  • How to select and advance in your career
  • A foolproof way to a glowing performance review
  • How to build your value and win promotions
  • Keys to responsible dating in an increasingly irresponsible world
  • How to know whether he or she is “the one”
  • Keys to a successful marriage
  • Attributes of wise financial management
  • How to live within your means and achieve your financial goals


There are a number of ways that you could use this book to help achieve your educational mission:


  • As a curricular resource for courses in leadership or life skills (using the accompanyig student guides that expand the book's reach with relvant, engaging discussions and activities for classroom or small group use)
  • As a mentoring tool for student mentors
  • As a graduation gift to students or as a gift to high school or college parents
  • As a guide for college admissions counselors, especially in the career/college major arena
  • As a guide for college students or as a college orientation guide


I believe that What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead could be a valuable resource to you as you prepare students for their life journey.  The principles covered are comprehensive and relevant and go a long way in addressing the life skills gap that is harming our kids.  Thank you for your consideration!




Dennis Trittin 

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