More Lunch Bag Notes: Everyday Advice from a Dad to His Son

Overview

Discover a better life with guidance from Dad

If you are looking for advice on dealing with a difficult situation in your life or you just want some help figuring out what to do with your talents and dreams, you will find plenty of support and wisdom in More Lunch Bag Notes.

After Al Parisi’s battle with brain cancer left him unable to run the company he founded and took public, he created a better job: CEO of the Parisi Family. One of his ...

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Overview

Discover a better life with guidance from Dad

If you are looking for advice on dealing with a difficult situation in your life or you just want some help figuring out what to do with your talents and dreams, you will find plenty of support and wisdom in More Lunch Bag Notes.

After Al Parisi’s battle with brain cancer left him unable to run the company he founded and took public, he created a better job: CEO of the Parisi Family. One of his first initiatives was to write inspirational advice to his children on their lunch bags each day. In this companion book to the original Lunch Bag Notes, Al has written a year’s worth of notes to his son, Anthony, and to all teenage boys.

These notes contain ideas to help you build strong relationships with friends and family, develop a positive attitude, work toward success, strengthen your faith, use your gifts to serve others, and make sound choices in life. Al and Anthony have also added questions for you to think about and steps you can take to be happier and more successful.
Improve your life now with More Lunch Bag Notes!

“All teens need a boost from time to time, and Lunch Bag Notes delivers. Consider it the new Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.”
  —Nashville Parent, Parentworld.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780829421712
  • Publisher: Loyola Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 12 - 16 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Parisi, is a senior at Agoura Hills High School and is a volunteer confirmation leader at St. Jude's Roman Catholic Church. Anthony competes in several sports and enjoys mentoring younger children. Visit his Web site at www.lunchbagnotes.com.

Al Parisi and his wife live in Agoura Hills, California, and are the parents of two children. Ann Marie Parisi, his daughter, teaches religious education, is a senior in college, and aspires to someday teach at a Catholic elementary school.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Some five years ago, during my sister Ann Marie’s sophomore year at Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, California, our dad, Al Parisi, started writing notes on her brown-paper lunch bags. They were wonderful notes full of wisdom and good advice. Dad’s notes were meant to inspire Ann Marie and her friends to believe in themselves and make sound moral choices in their lives. Unbeknownst to Dad, my sister saved his notes so that she could one day share them with her children. She flattened out each lunch bag and stored them in a sneaker box for safekeeping.

 

About four years ago, Ann Marie was cleaning out her closet, and the box fell off the shelf and bonked her on the head. The box opened up and the lunch bags went scattering all over the bedroom floor. When she told Dad what had happened, he laughed hysterically, then became very quiet, realizing that Ann Marie thought the notes precious enough to save them. You could see he was extremely touched.

As chronicled in Ann Marie’s edition of Lunch Bag Notes, the notes were eventually self-published so their wisdom could be shared with local teens and their parents. The books were mostly distributed through fund-raisers at our alma mater, Agoura High School, and at local parishes. Many books were simply gifted. Ann Marie’s goal was to get the messages out to as many local teens and their parents as possible, and to grow spiritually and mentally from the experience. However, when Ann Marie and Dad realized the positive impact the book was having on its readers, they choose to go the next step and seek out a Catholic publisher to help spread the message to a much broader audience. Loyola Press was that publisher.

Next it was my turn. In my sophomore year at Agoura High School, Dad wrote notes of love and wisdom to me, just as he had to Ann Marie. However, I warned Dad early on that if he was going to write me lunch notes, he had better not write them on my lunch bag, but rather on a separate piece of paper placed in the bag. Those notes, unedited except for grammar and spelling, follow. I hope you enjoy reading them, and that they inspire you as much as they inspired me.

—Anthony Parisi

 

How to Use This Book

Since you, like most readers, will find that you have experienced situations similar to the ones addressed in the notes—or likely will encounter them—each note is accompanied by a journal page containing a brief comment to stimulate your thought process. We recommend that you use these pages to record your feelings and emotions, or anything else that comes to mind after reading the accompanying note. Usually your first thoughts will be the strongest and the ones that are most meaningful. By taking time to write out your thoughts, you will be more likely to understand how you can apply the note to your own life experience. For instance, you may feel conflicted about a decision, choice, or action that you need to take. Ben Franklin, whenever he was faced with a crucial decision, would write out each possible choice on a separate piece of paper, and then draw a line down the middle of each page. On one side he would write potential positive outcomes of his decision; on the other, the potential negative outcomes. When finished, he would opt for the choice with the most potential for a positive result. Like most good decision makers, he took his time deciding, but once he did, he was firm in his commitment.

The right-hand pages are lined for your convenience. For easy reference, at the bottom right of each journal page, you will also find the theme(s) of the accompanying note.

 

 

More Lunch Bag Notes

 

Dear Anthony,
Summer school was a good choice, though I know a difficult one for you. Nearly half your summer vacation seems like a lot to give up! Now, however, I am sure you’re glad you did because you maintained very good grades, despite all the time you devoted to the Agoura High School baseball team. Good job.
Love, Dad

 

Do you have difficulty seeing beyond the present? When have you sought instant gratification? When have you planned for the future? Seeking only instant gratification has its consequences. Most virtuosos require a minimum of eight years of “investing in themselves” before they attain true accomplishment and fame. When necessary, give up short-term gains or gratification, and invest in your future. Don’t worry about what you might have to give up, but rather, think about what you will gain. Plan to succeed by succeeding to plan. . . . More on that later.

 

{ Choices }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
As you begin your sophomore year, you can build on the experience of last year. As a freshman you had several concerns: the huge campus, bigger classes, the pressure of playing baseball and basketball while maintaining good grades, and making new friends.
What you discovered is that every other student has the same or similar concerns, and that there is no magic formula for “fitting in” and adjusting. All you can do is be yourself.
Love, Dad

 

When have you tried to be someone else in order to fit in? What happened? Be true to yourself and be yourself, and soon you will fit in. Shakespeare made a career of writing plays about hapless characters who tried to be what they were not. The plays are called tragedies. You are unique; why be a “copy”? Stand tall and be proud.

 

{ Self-Confidence }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
You flatter me when you say you want to be a success like me. Let me tell you some of the things I did in high school that enabled me to succeed later on in life:
* I listened intently in class and took very good notes.
* Every week, sometimes every day, I rewrote the notes from the lessons of that day while they were still fresh in my mind.
* I did every extra-credit project.
* I spread out my studying, but really focused on the evening before an exam.
* I got at least eight hours of sleep every night.
Love, Dad

 

Are your grades good? What is your system for studying and doing well on tests? If your grades aren’t very good, it may be because you haven’t developed the system just right for you. Resolve to do so now and avoid regrets. The longer you go without a plan or system, the more difficult it will be to study well in the future. Make a checklist of the tasks described in the note, and track your progress every day.

 

{ Studying }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
You’re beginning to make a lot of girl friends. That’s good, but there are ground rules that apply to girls that you don’t necessarily need to pay attention to with boys. Call it “Girl Etiquette”:
* Be yourself and don’t create an alter ego.
* Always be respectful.
* Always be complimentary.
* Do not tease a girl or make fun of her in any way. (Of course, this same rule applies to your guy friends.)
* “Don’t touch.” Unfortunately, in today’s society, touching is taboo.
Love, Dad

 

Do you have a problem with any of these ground rules or are any of them difficult for you to follow? Why or why not? If you cannot follow these rules, you may be headed down a dangerous path. Chivalry is not dead. It’s every woman’s wish to be treated as a lady. Be a gentleman and your popularity with women will soar.

 

{ Dating }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
I know you think Mom and I are hounding you when we ask a lot of questions about your friends. The questions we ask show our genuine concern and love for you. They are also the same questions you should be asking yourself.
Friendship is a special gift. You can’t give it to everyone, nor can you accept it from everyone.
The good news is that we do approve of those friends that we have met.
Love, Dad

 

How do you choose your friends? What do you know about them? Remember this old adage: “Show me your friends, and I will tell you what you are.” The true test of friendship is knowing that your friend will stand by your side in good times and in bad.

 

{ Friendship }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
Jack Nicklaus, the famous golfer once said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp,
in-focus picture of it in my head.”
The key phrase in this saying is “in-focus.” This does not only apply to sports, but also to all aspects of life. In order to do something well, we need to focus. That is why I often say to you: “Age quod agis,” which means, “Do what you are doing.” In other words, avoid distraction and concentrate. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
Love, Dad

 

Do you have difficulty concentrating? Why or why not? What are the distractions in your life? To properly focus, try doing one thing at a time so that you can do it well. Try to find a quiet place where you can avoid distractions. If the place is your room, make sure the TV and CD player are off.

 

{ Success, Studying }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
I notice you are getting more frequent quizzes and exams than last year, so I thought I would remind you of some good test-taking techniques:
* Be prepared by studying well; avoid surprises.
* Get eight to ten hours of sleep.
* Have a healthy breakfast.
* Before beginning the exam, take a deep breath and relax; remind yourself that you will do well because you are well prepared.
* Read the instructions well.
Love, Dad

 

Have you made adjustments to your study habits? What have they been? Keep trying new studying techniques until you find the method that works best for you. Be self-correcting. You may be surprised by how much your grades improve. Remember the checklist and find a “quiet place” to study.

 

{ Studying }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
A follow-up to yesterday’s note—particularly on why it’s important to read the instructions: Once, when I was involved in a math competition, I started the exam from the back. It was such an easy test that I finished before anyone else. Eventually, when I reached the first page and briefly glanced at the instructions, my pulse began to quicken as I realized why the test was so easy: It was to be done in base five.
Love, Dad

 

When have you not followed instructions because you thought you knew what you were doing? What happened? It is a good idea to follow instructions, especially those from parents, teachers, and coaches. They really do know best. Imagine you asked for directions to a particular event and all you remembered was that it was ten miles away. How would you find it?

 

{ Success }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
I really appreciate your help whenever we have to assemble something or change a timer. I know I couldn’t do it without you. [Dad has difficulty processing new information as a result of a brain tumor he had some years ago.] It’s nice of you to take the time to help me. Sometimes I wish we had more of these kinds of projects to do, just so we could be together. And thank you for going easy on me with your teasing.
Love, Dad

 

When have you teased others who had ­disabilities? When have you avoided people who are handicapped? Try to see Jesus in everyone. Look beyond the disability. Many disabled people have been pillars of our ­society: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Christopher Reeve, Les Brown, to name but a few. (Brown, labeled “educable mentally retarded,” is one of today’s most highly acclaimed speakers. He talks to Fortune 500 companies and conducts seminars throughout the United States.) Remember Jesus’ compassion toward the lepers, those tormented by demons, and all the infirm.

 

{ Respect }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
You are blessed with a loving and caring family. We love you for so many reasons. Here are just a few:
* You are kind and considerate.
* You make us laugh.
* You make time for everyone, especially little kids. Your patience with them is remarkable. That is very special.
* You’re willing to help out other people when they ask, like Donna and Mr. Carmichael, even though you could be hanging out with your friends.
* You have a great smile, laugh, and sense of silliness.
Keep being you.
Love, Dad

 

How do you spend quality time with your family? How do you help others? Your presence and your time are great gifts to give. Sir Winston Churchill once said: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” The more you give of yourself, the better you’ll feel about yourself.

 

{ Family, Stewardship }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
Have you heard this saying: “If it feels good, just do it”? It doesn’t make any sense, unless we add the clause, “Provided it’s morally correct.” Our forefathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, noted that freedom is not freedom if it interferes with the freedom or rights of others.
To do something simply because it feels good, without considering its consequences or whether it’s morally right, is terribly wrong. We must always consider the ramifications of our actions.
Love, Dad

What do you do just because it feels good? When have you acted without thinking about the consequences of your action? Recall what happened to Adam and Eve when they chose to act impulsively. Doing the right thing is easier than you think. You already know what’s right and what’s wrong. To paraphrase basketball coach Pat Riley: Pick the right one, then go with it.

 

{ Character, Choices }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
You’ve had a good attitude lately. To have a great attitude is even better. As I often shared with Ann Marie, attitude pretty much determines how far you will go in life. Very few people, including me, have been successful without having a positive attitude. You always say you want to be like me. Remember to always be SMART. [That’s my dad’s acronym for Superior Mental Attitude Results in Triumph.]
Love, Dad

 

How is your attitude? Do you see the glass as half-empty or half-full? With a positive attitude, you can and will do things better. What is it like to be around people with a negative attitude? How does it affect you? Negativity can be contagious; avoid contact with it. Our thoughts steer our minds to fulfill them. Therefore, as Peter Pan advised: “Think happy thoughts.”

 

{ Attitude }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
The other day you indicated you’d like to try something new, like joining a school club. That’s a great idea. The more active we are in life, the more fulfilling life is. Yes, our minds, our bodies, even our souls, all need exercising. Work hard, play hard, and pray hard.
Love, Dad

 

Are you a participant or an observer? Mental exercise, physical exercise, and spiritual exercise keep us strong. Don’t be a couch potato. What positive and fun activities can you participate in? Do them now. If you hesitate, you may change your mind. Remember what Confucius said: “The journey of a thousand miles starts with but a single step.”

 

{ Action }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
One of the things I admire most about you is your modesty. You are always quick to credit others for your success, and you readily accept responsibility for your mistakes or shortcomings. Did you know that these are two of the most important traits of a leader?
Love, Dad

 

When have you accepted responsibility for your mistakes? When have you blamed others? When have you bragged too much about yourself? Always be humble in victory or defeat, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a leader. Leaders accept responsibility and lead by example. Choose to be a leader.

 

{ Responsibility }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
St. Paul said, “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another" (Romans 12:5 NRSV). He then pointed out that each of us is blessed with unique gifts from God, which we are to share with one another—this is called stewardship.
Anthony, you should determine what talents you have and how you can best use them. Unlike natural resources, if we do not use our talents, they wither away.
Love, Dad

 

What are your talents? Make a list of your best qualities and traits (good listener, helpful, make time for others, athletic, musically talented, patient, etc.). This will help you determine your talents. Now, how can you be a good steward and use your talents for the betterment of others? Serving others will help you improve your self-esteem, strengthen your character, and lead you to happiness.

{ Stewardship }

 

 

Dear Anthony,
In a previous lunch note I mentioned how powerful our minds are. For example, many prisoners grew up frequently hearing the words: “You will end up in jail someday.” Many professional athletes were told: “Someday you’ll play in the major leagues.” I am not a clinician, but it seems to me that the way things turn out is the result of more than mere coincidence.
I urge you to fill your mind with positive input by reading good books, by watching good movies, and by reminding yourself daily that you are a good person and that God loves you.
Love, Dad

 

How do you feed your mind? Our minds are like computers: If you input positive thoughts, you’ll get positive results. If you input negative thoughts, you may export negative results. What can you do to better feed your mind? You could read a good book, watch an uplifting movie, listen to a beautiful song or motivational audiotape, explore an enriching computer program, or simply think positive thoughts and/or affirmations.

 

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Table of Contents

How to Use This Book

Since you, like most readers, will find that you have experienced situations similar to the ones addressed in the notes—or likely will encounter them—each note is accompanied by a journal page containing a brief comment to stimulate your thought process. We recommend that you use these pages to record your feelings and emotions, or anything else that comes to mind after reading the accompanying note. Usually your first thoughts will be the strongest and the ones that are most meaningful. By taking time to write out your thoughts, you will be more likely to understand how you can apply the note to your own life experience. For instance, you may feel conflicted about a decision, choice, or action that you need to take. Ben Franklin, whenever he was faced with a crucial decision, would write out each possible choice on a separate piece of paper, and then draw a line down the middle of each page. On one side he would write potential positive outcomes of his decision; on the other, the potential negative outcomes. When finished, he would opt for the choice with the most potential for a positive result. Like most good decision makers, he took his time deciding, but once he did, he was firm in his commitment.

The right-hand pages are lined for your convenience. For easy reference, at the bottom right of each journal page, you will also find the theme(s) of the accompanying note.
 

Read More Show Less

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