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I had one of those Mom ah-ha moments. I was sitting on an airplane and watched people cut in line, let someone go in front of them, help someone put their bag in the overhead bin, and give up their window seat. It made me start to think….have I taught my kids everything I want them to know about how to treat others? As Mothers, we have a million and one responsibilities and it’s easy for Mom guilt to creep in, wondering if we are doing enough or if we have taught them the most important things in life. I thought to myself, “What would I want my kids to know?” Have I taught them the integral life lessons?
We are TEACHERS. We teach and guide every day of our lives. Since it is Mother’s Day this week, I wanted to write a letter to my kids. I want to let them know what is in my heart and hopefully pass on a little of what I have learned in my 40 years. I wanted to compile a list of 27 things I want my kids to know that will help them in their lives.
WHAT I WANT MY KIDS TO KNOW:
- Find Yourself. Figure out what YOU are good at and what makes you unique. Do you love to Draw? Run? Play Sports? Swim? Sing? Bake? Dance? Create? Play an Instrument? Skateboard? Design? Study? Do Hair? Water Sports? Do Outdoor Activities? What is important is discovering what qualities make you special. Take a personality test. Ask your parents. Write down compliments when you receive them.
- Choose Good Friends. This is probably one of the most important things you will ever do as a teenager. Surround yourself with those that make you want to be a better person, make you feel good about yourself and help you make good decisions.
- Be Honest and have Integrity. “Tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable.” It’s been said by C.S. Lewis, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.
- Compliment Others. See the good in others and tell them as soon as you think it. It’s amazing how complimenting dispels jealously. Recognizing the strengths and talents of others takes nothing away from who you are.
- Just Go For It. Try out everything. Put yourself out there. Even if it means you don’t make the team, lose an election, or realize you just don’t have what it takes. Keep trying. If things go wrong, stay positive. Pay attention to your self-talk. “I won’t let this get me down” or “It’s okay if things don’t go my way” or “I will keep on trying to get better.” Failing is an inevitable part of our story. To truly succeed…it takes time, a lot of hard work and never giving up.
- Focus on Education. Gain all of the knowledge and education that you can. It makes you more interesting and a good conversationalist. Learn about all kinds of subjects and soak up learning. Go to the library or browse books online that interest you. See what sticks. Your grades affect your future and your college opportunities. Don’t waste away your days on your phone when you could be growing that brain of yours. You don’t want to regret not putting in the effort.
- Learn from your Struggles. Life can be challenging. You will face some adversity and struggles in your life and you can choose whether they make you bitter or better. Your best life stories will come from your struggles because it is through them that you discover your strength. Remember….you are stronger than you think you are.
- Be a Good Friend. Be fiercely loyal. Don’t gossip. Steer clear of drama. Never say anything in a text or in person that you wouldn’t want to be repeated. Be a good listener. Celebrate your friend’s successes, cheer them on, and encourage them.
- Listen to your Parents. They teach you from experience because they have been a kid like you. They will be your biggest fans and will always want the best for you.
- Spend your Time Wisely. It’s so easy to waste the hours away mindlessly scrolling down Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. We spend so much time watching other people live their lives that we aren’t living our own. We hear everyone else’s opinion on Twitter but what is ours? Maybe we feel super busy….but busy doing what? Spend time working on hobbies, helping others, and looking for service opportunities.
- Be Kind Always. You will never regret being kind.
- Be an Owner, not a Victim. Own your actions and apologize for your part. Instead of blaming others, look for how you contributed to the issue or what you can do to resolve it.
- Don’t Compare Yourself to Others. Unless it inspires you, not much good comes from comparing ourselves to others. We are usually scrolling through “perfect” Instagram feeds and comparing our most glaring weaknesses with their supposed strengths. As Covey stated, “Be happy with you. Love your flaws. Own your quirks.”
- Have Good Manners. Say thank you every single time someone does something for you, whether it be holding a door for you or giving you a ride home. Always express gratitude for acts of service. Show respect, be polite, and look people in the eye.
- Follow the Rules. The rules are there for a reason and are usually there to keep you safe. You will feel more peaceful when you follow the rules. You won’t have to look over your shoulder, wondering if you will get caught.
- Serve Others. Always be looking for ways to serve others. It’s a surefire way to lift your mood.
- Stay Away from Addictive Substances. There is freedom in being in control of our bodies. Stay away from drugs, alcohol, tobacco and any other addictive substances. There is so much heartbreak that comes from addiction. Don’t take the risk. A clear mind is a happy mind.
- Be YOURSELF. There is no one in the entire world that is just like you. You are unique and different and you were meant to do amazing things in this world that only YOU can do. Work hard to find what makes you special and accept yourself. People will love and gravitate to you when you are real and genuine.
- Be Positive. Try to find the silver lining in every situation. “The only thing making you unhappy are your thoughts. Change them.” Change your course when you find yourself dwelling on the negative.
- Be Adventurous. Enjoy your childhood. Run. Play. Explore.
- Be Selfless. Think of others. Be considerate. Let people go in front of you, pay for someone’s drink, help someone with their bags, open a door for someone. Put yourself in somebody else’s shoes.
- Don’t Judge Others. It’s so much easier to just love everyone. Accept people no matter their race, religion, or status.
- Work Hard and Set Goals. There is great satisfaction that comes from a job well done.
- Stand Up for the Underdog. Never participate in belittling or making fun of someone. It can greatly affect their self-esteem. Speak your mind but always stay classy. Use clean language.
- Say your Prayers. Give thanks for all of your blessings. Stay close to your Heavenly Father and go to him in prayer daily.
- Build Family Relationships. Nothing is more important than family. Take time to spend quality time together and work hard on your relationships. Be forgiving. Be tolerant of their weaknesses. Love them unconditionally. Serve them. The way you treat them will come back to you.
- You are LOVED. You are loved beyond belief.