I say that I want to teach my daughter these things because letsbehonest, when you are about to have a baby your head is filled with ideas of how you will raise your kids. Heck, even if you are a non-parent and have no plans to be a parent I’m sure you’ve had the thought, “If I had a kid…”. We can’t help it. We see kids everywhere these days. At the store, at the doctor’s, at the movies, at restaurants, at wine tastings (was that just that one time?), and everywhere else we go. The time of kids being seen and not heard are over. Personally, I’m fine with it within reason. If I were to say that I’m not annoyed when a kid is running around the restaurant yelling at the top of their lungs and knocking into the waiters, well I’d be lying. Honestly though I wonder how the parents can sit there say nothing and keep eating.
Obviously I can make these judgments now because as I’ve been reminded through most of my adulthood, I’m not a parent yet. Even now a lot of people wouldn’t say that Tim and I are parents because she isn’t here in our arms yet. I know Tim and I are parents already. Especially the last month. I’ve literally done everything in my power to make sure she is in a safe environment and comes into this world safely. Tim has been as supportive as humanly possible and checks in on us constantly through the day. It’s true though, she’s not here yet so we can’t turn the next chapter in parenting quite yet. I can’t help but think of these things that I want to teach her in life. I want to teach her lots of things but these points have been sticking in my craw lately.
15 Things I want to teach my daughter: *These are from the point of view of me talking to her*
1. You control how you react to situations. Your mom is controlling of things. The one thing I’ve learned though is that you can’t control everything. You can’t control people and you can’t control the way life comes at you. The one thing you can control is how you react. Cry, be upset, be angry, whatever, but the next day pick yourself up and figure out what you need to do. You do control how you act through life.
2. Wear what you want, but wear it for you. Okay, this is has two meanings. When you’re a kid wear the orange polka dot top and the turquoise stripped pants with a tutu and rain boots if that’s what you want to wear. As you get older wear what you want but wear it because it’s what you like to wear. Don’t waste your time, self-respect, or outfits on what you think that boy (or girl) thinks. You don’t owe anyone your time and energy based on their expectations of you. Jobs and circumstantial situations are different, but for day to day wear what you want.
3. Life is so much more than screens. You are going to grow up in a world that is ruled by computer screens, phone screens, TV screens, and so many other electronics. Life is so so so much more. Don’t roll your eyes when we say we’re going to walk downtown. Open your eyes to the beautiful scenery we live in. Don’t be upset that we’re going to the library instead of watching the same episode of Dora for the thousandth time. Be excited to hold a book in your little hands.
4. You earn the respect of people. Again, you can’t control how other people treat you. You can control how you treat people though. I’m sorry if and when you run across people who feel that you should automatically respect them and treat you poorly. Don’t sink to their level. Rise above and show them and yourself that you can rise above and be the bigger person. Take it from me, people will change their attitude quite a bit with a kind smile and a, “How are you doing today?”
5. Don’t judge people so harshly that you’ve established an opinion based on that judgement. It’s difficult to not judge people. It’s what you do with said judgement that is the difference. You don’t know people’s life stories. You don’t know their yesterday stories. You’ll meet so many different people in your life, to judge them and therefore your relationship with them in the first few moments is robbing you and them. Some of the best people are abrasive at first. Give them time, be patient.
6. Your beauty is so much more than what you see in the mirror. You will probably be told that you are beautiful from someone just looking at you. I’m here to tell you that you are beautiful because of the person you are. I think my family and friends are the most beautiful when they smile, laugh, comfort others, show a vulnerability. I think your father is the most beautiful when he shows his love for you and me. Beauty is more than a selfie.
7. Never confine or doubt what your achievements can and will be. Work hard and focus. You can achieve things you never thought you would because you put the effort behind it. Do it with everything you do. Your career, your relationships, your friends, your heart, your schooling, and your passions. Achievement is more than a net worth of money. They are a net worth of life.
8. Take responsibility for your actions. I apologize because you will hear me say this to the point of insanity. I say it so much because I feel that it’s a lost art in our society. Everyone looks for someone or something else to blame. No. YOU, you alone are responsible for the decisions made in your life. You make those decisions, you have to deal with the consequences. I’ll try to help you along the way, but at the end of the day it’s you.
9. Family isn’t always blood. I grew up with lots of family that aren’t blood related. Your grandparents built me and your aunt and fabulous family from college friends. They helped shape us into the people we are today. Your dad and I did the same. You have a lot of blood related family but you also have a lot of bonus family around you. We are lucky that we got to pick them to be part of our tribe. Don’t vote them off easily, they’ll be there for everything.
10. You do you. It will take you a while to get there. I spent so much of my teenage years and part of my college years worrying about how I acted around others. Then one day it just clicked. I needed to be who I be. I needed to do me. I decided what I valued. I decided who I wanted in my life. I decided my life. And I have to tell you, I like the honest version of myself far more than the version I was faking. It’s okay to be weird. It’s okay to be a jock. It’s okay to be the drama kid. Whoever you are, that’s perfect.
11. It’s okay to have emotions. Growing up people will tell you to calm down. Don’t cry. Don’t get angry. It’s all ridiculous. If that’s what’s going on in your body then let it out. Please don’t go crazy and punch things like the Hulk or become overly dramatic, but talk about it. Saying, “I’m so angry right now” will make you feel so much better than keeping it inside and letting it eat away. Talk to us. Talk to friends. Talk to whomever to make you feel better. Don’t shame yourself into a corner.
12. Have as much fun in life as possible. Whatever makes you laugh a ton, smile till your cheeks hurt, and makes your soul full at the end of the day, do it. There will be plenty of times in life where you won’t have fun. Let the fun outweigh those times.
13. You came into this world so loved by so many people. Dad and I were the first to love you. When your grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, and other family found out about you they loved you instantly. We are the ones who will be here for you for the rest of your life. That started before you came into this world. Don’t forget that.
14. Dad and I aren’t here to ruin your life. It will feel like that some days. Sorry, that’s life, kiddo. We are here to love you fiercely. Part of that love is showing you that life has boundaries, there are rules out there, and help make you the best possible you. You won’t really appreciate it until your much much older, but you will some day. I promise.
15. You will make mistakes. And you will make a lot of them. That’s what part of life is. That’s what growing up is. That’s what being a human is. We’ll be here for those mistakes to help pick you up. Accept those mistakes and make a better life out of them. Mistakes can turn into wonderful things.
What are some things you would want to tell your kids or future kids?