These life lessons are so valuable that I must share. Here is the list:
Life lessons to share with your children
1) Drink a ton of water!
As you mature, you’ll learn how beneficial this will be for your skin, hair and overall health. But for now, at this young age, you’re learning how it’s used as a preventative measure in avoiding constipation and a “hurt peepee”. That’s right, we’ve recently dealt with tears while on the toilet in regards to an unpleasant #2…and…sometimes it hurts to pee after a day without enough water. Using these two occurrences as examples for the importance of hydrating one’s self have proven to be most effective in getting results.
2) Do kind things for others…
…whether they be your family, friends or strangers. Every single act of kindness makes our world a little bit better of a place to live in. And, when you do go out of your way for others, please oh please don’t ever expect a single thing in return. Not even a “thank you.” If the recipient of your kindness fails to thank you, that only shows their lack of manners. Doing good out of the kindness of your heart is the point, here. NOT receiving credit or acknowledgement.
3) Don’t let others take advantage of your kindness.
After offering the previous “lesson”, I have to also tell you that there are people who will take advantage of your kindness. You’ll find out who these people are soon enough. They’re the ones who pop up out of the woodwork, taking from you, using you, mooching off of your giving heart without ever giving to you of themselves…out of the kindness of their own heart. Show kindness to those who truly deserve it or are in need. The rest of them? Just give them nothing more than a view of you, walking away.
4) Be an advocate for good manners.
In a world where they seem to be slipping away, where their importance has fallen to the wayside in many homes, lead others by example. Uphold them for all to see and hear. Say “please” and “thank you.” Open doors for others (and if they don’t thank you for that, apologize to them for not sprinkling rose petals along their path as well *insert sarcasm here*). Say “thank you” when another holds a door open for you. Help an old, pregnant, or handicapped person carry their bags. Give up your seat while waiting at a restaurant, on a bus, in an office, etc. to another who looks like they could use a break (a pregnant woman, young child, the elderly, an injured person or an exhausted looking mom who spends hours of the day waiting on hand and foot to her children and significant other, etc). If you find a lost item, no matter its value, return it to the proper authorities or the owner. Say “excuse me” when crossing in front of someone in the aisle of a grocery store as they’re looking for which box of cereal to choose. If you bump into someone, immediately say “excuse me.” Manners make people feel good and using them, hopefully, reminds everyone that we should respect one another, no matter how different, if for nothing more than because we are all members of the human race.
5) You are unique. Embrace this.
There is no one else in the history of existence who is exactly like you. Just being yourself is adding something new and different to the world. But unfortunately, you live in a time where society wants you to act and think according to their mainstream ways…following trends, styles, diets, etc. Ignore all of that crap. Don’t buy into their bologna of what you should look like, how you should talk, what you should wear, what music to listen to, and what’s considered “cool.” Please, don’t ever change or hide who you are for another. And don’t ever let the world get you down for being different. Girls, follow your hearts towards your passions. Celebrate the mind and body that you were born with, they’re perfectly imperfect. Nourish your soul with how you see fit. Dance to the beat of your own drum. Just do you. Because an original is always worth more than a copy.
6) Step outside of your comfort zone.
It’s where all of the magic happens. It’s where you’ll discover something new about yourself, like how you handle pressure, stress, fear, envy, the unknown. Or maybe you’ll reveal a hidden talent or strength, uncover a new passion or interest, or learn a new skill, or even discover a favorite food. You may find yourself feeling awkward or uncomfortable, but I swear girls, it’s worth it! Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.
7) Introduce yourself to Mother Nature.
Build a relationship with her and actively maintain it, whether you do so by hiking her trails or camping out in her depths. There is so much to learn about ourselves when we’re stripped of many of our possessions and smack dab in the middle of nowhere among the wild beauty of nature. Feel the breeze in your hair, absorb the sun on your skin, breathe in that fresh air, savor the sweet scent of life, listen to the peaceful sound of growth among the plants and the chatter among the wildlife, quiet your mind from the stresses of home, take note of the deliberate pace at which all is accomplished, allow yourself to find but a small place in her bosom, and allow her into yours. You’ll be forever changed.
8) Contrary to popular belief, the world doesn’t owe you anything.
It’s my opinion that many of today’s youth are living their lives with a false sense of entitlement. Many adults, too, for that matter. So many kids are lazy these days, and expect things to come easy, they expect things to just come. I think a lot of parents are becoming more concerned with being a friend to their children, or fear being the “bad guy” that they steer clear from proper discipline and from allowing their kids to struggle. So, the parents cater to their kids which is what I think is partly responsible for this entitlement attitude. Or maybe they’re just getting lazy and are slacking in exposing them to some good and honest hard work. Whatever the reason, going through life with this mentality brings nothing but disappointment and shattered expectations when life in the real world doesn’t “go your way.” This promotes laziness and a lack of effort to actually earn the things you want in life: friendships, respect, money, success, love, intelligence, etc. These things all take work, my babies. When it comes to who owes what, you actually owe it to yourself to be your best person possible. Only you can be the change you want in life. You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for. So grow a backbone, not a wishbone. Once you realize that no one owes you happiness, success or anything else, you’ll free yourself from expecting the unlikely. Hopefully, you’ll be more proactive as well. Everything in life, isearned. My lovelies, get ready to work. Good behavior, manners, helpfulness, good grades, physical work, are just some of the things we expect from you in order to earn the sweets and treats of life.
9) Being trustworthy is of utmost importance.
To be trusted, one must be reliable, dependable and honest with not only yourselves but with others. Your reputations for being trustworthy (or its opposite) will follow you throughout your lives, like a shadow. This reputation will have a direct impact on your professional lives, your social lives, and your love lives. Trust takes a lot of time to earn, and less than a minute to break. Once trust is broken, it may not always be repaired. Please, take trust seriously for it can either make or break nearly every relationship throughout your lives.
10) Live alone at least once in your life.
I went from living at home with my parents, to living in an apartment with two other similar aged roommates during college, to back at home, and then in with your Dad. I’ve never lived absolutely and completely alone and it’s definitely a regret of mine (and your Dad’s. He never did, either). I think this is one of those things that you don’t ever realize you should have done until it’s too late. Once married, I imagine there will never be another time to live for just yourself until you’re either divorced or old and grey and widowed! Neither scenarios are preferred. I think so many young people (like mostly in their twenties and maybe early 30s) are so preoccupied, obsessed even, with their social lives and with “finding someone.” I don’t think enough people realize the importance of truly getting to know yourself before committing to a lifetime with a significant other. Living on your own comes with ultimate freedom, every decision is yours alone, and basic living skills and routines are learned because you have no one else to do anything for you, but you! It’s a time to take charge, to establish independence, to run the show, to be held solely responsible for all of your successes and failures, to make mistakes and learn from them, to hear your inner voice in the quiet of every day, to focus on your own goals and passions without any distractions, to discover more of who you are in your own, safe space. Self exploration! Just imagine how much more “together” you’ll be for a future partner after both you and him have lived on your own. I think you’ll bring so many more great qualities to future relationships after giving yourself your own, undivided attention first. And if you disagree with all of the above, well then at the very least, while living alone you’ll know that the hair you’re scooping out of the shower drain is yours.
11) Don’t underestimate the power of list making.
I’m very curious as to whether or not you girls will pick up my list-making habits. I’ve mentioned this ritual of mine on the blog before. I’m a compulsive list-maker and have been for years. I don’t just stop at grocery lists (which you’ll always find attached to my fridge via a magnet). Before traveling, I write out a list of every item I’ll need to pack. When I’m feeling overwhelmed by the clutter surrounding me in my home, I jot down every chore that needs to be done and in the order I want to do it in. As summer approaches, I list some fun summer activities I want us all to experience. I create lists of post ideas for this here blog. I keep an ongoing list of daily things that I need to do, like pay bills, call back the credit card company that’s been calling me for days, schedule service for my car, find a dance class for Mia to start attending, order more make-up (I’m running low), etc. Girls, I can’t tell you just how helpful my list-making has proven to be in keeping me more organized. I’d be a hot, lost mess without them. I’ve got so many thoughts buzzing around in my head, jotting them down on paper allows for me to let those thoughts goand helps me address each one accordingly. It’s pretty satisfying, crossing off each item I’ve listed as I accomplish it. I feel more productive at the end of the day. But on the flip-side, they can also serve to be some in-your-face proof of how unproductive the day may have been because no items were crossed off. Bottom line, lists help to organize your thoughts, days, weeks and months as well as help to keep you accountable for getting [stuff] done.
12) Don’t half-ass your way through life.
Oh, my lovelies. Should you two turn into “half-assers”, you’ll never hear the end of it from myself and from Grandma Ceci! So do yourselves the favor of doing things thoroughly the first time, if for nothing more than to get your mom and Grandma off your back! But in all seriousness, cutting corners and half-assing anything will only bring you right back to the beginning, just to do it all over again later. You’ll end up doing more work in the end rather than just taking the extra step or two to get things done right the first time around. Laziness is so unattractive and gets you nowhere, fast. Life will be so much better if you don’t waste your time doing things over. It really says something about your character when you take pride in your work and in how you approach both big and small tasks. And this attitude also applies to relationships whether it be with your family, friends, boyfriends or husbands. Every relationship takes work and I guarantee you that doing the bare minimum when it comes to nurturing these relationships will cause each of them to fail. You’ll actually see a trend of failure in many aspects of life if you don’t give everything your best efforts. Always ask yourself, “Am I half-assing it?” Doing so will serve as a challenge to yourself to take the extra step, extend your reach and surpass your own expectations for yourself.
13) You are more than just your looks.This particular lesson, makes me cringe. As I stare at your innocent little faces in the pictures above, I can’t help but to feel a sinking sensation in my stomach because I know that as you grow, the world will begin to chip away at that innocence, and at your pure happiness in just existing. Right now, neither of you have a true care in the world, nothing to stress about, no reason to doubt yourselves, no reason to feel insignificant or judged. You’ve never been ridiculed, mocked, teased or used. Right now, life consists of playing with toy trains and planes, giving hugs and kisses, riding your bike, taking naps, eating healthy foods, drinking enough water, swimming pool fun, playdates with friends, park visits, building up the courage to head down the tall slide, learning to differentiate between your left and right shoes, learning to eat solids (for the baby), and learning how to express emotions effectively. Life is simple and life is good. Nothing that I just mentioned has anything to do with your appearance. Right now, your looks don’t matter. People are actually interested in your behaviors, personalities, abilities and the little quirks that make you unique. But, as you grow older, this will unfortunately shift. Many people -not all people- will take one look at you and merely be concerned with your bra size, the length and shape of your legs, your height, your skin tone and complexion, your clothing, your haircut, the curves of your body and how much you weigh. You will face pressures to fit into a cookie-cutter idea of what society considers to be beautiful. Your intelligence, your passions and interests, the size of your heart, the depth of your soul, your life experiences, your accomplishments and failures, your kindness and generosity, your humor and talents…these are the parts of you that make you beautiful. These are the qualities that will attract the right people into your life. Anyone who puts your looks above all else, doesn’t see you at all. These people aren’t deserving of your time so don’t you dare waste a minute of it on them. Don’t ever believe that you have to change your appearance to fit in, be liked or be loved. You are perfect the way you are. You are deserving, lovable, likable, capable…just the way you are. Please, don’t waste your youth, your life, being insecure about shit that just doesn’t matter, in the grand scheme of things. Insecurities serve no other purpose than to hold you back from living and experiencing life to the fullest, to your utmost potential. I’m telling you girls, from experience, that you will miss out on a lot of fun, laughter, memories, relationships, challenges and adventures if you buy into the idea that you’re not skinny or pretty enough. You are so much more than your looks, and I will never let a day go by without reminding you of that.
Kuddos to Misty the author of Momista Beginnings http://momistabeginnings.com/