I find that being a parent is, by far, the most challenging job I have ever had. There are many days when I am acutely aware of my shortcomings both as a mother and as a human. I am often short-tempered, frequently too busy, too controlling, and far too anxious. I worry that my child, whom I love with every ounce of my soul, will pay some price for these shortcomings. When I look at my ferocious and independent toddler, I worry that she is growing too quickly; that I will never be able to impart all of the valuable lessons I want her to carry.
I realize perhaps that I need to relax. We are all doing the best we can for our children, myself included. As long as I raise her happy and healthy and teach her some strong lessons along the way, then I can count it as a win. I’ve been thinking about this pretty frequently, lately.
What do I wish for my daughter? What life lessons do I hope she most learns?
There are so many things we want our children to carry with them. So many bridges we cross which are marked “teachable moment.” What, though, are the most valuable things we can give them as they venture toward adulthood? Which lessons will bear the most weight as they develop into functioning members of society?
After thinking long and hard, I’ve realized which hopes I hold the highest for my girl. The things I hope will make her strong in the face of her fears. I know which words I want her to hear me echoing each time she faces adversity or stressful situations.
My beautiful daughter,
I’m sorry to say that this world will not be kind to you, as kindness is not in its nature. Sadly, there is no way of knowing which ventures will kick you down and which ones will lift you up. You set out on this course through life with daddy and me by your side, helping to guide you. One day, sooner than I’d like, the day will come where you must step out on your own, and I can only hope I have provided you with the proper tools. We will be here, of course, cheering you on, consoling you, and picking you up whenever you need. This life is yours to live, though, and I intend for you to truly do so. As you do, there are some things you should remember.
No matter how cruel the world can be, never lose your kindness.
Kindness costs you nothing and is infectious. You will never know the struggles of others, so you should shine your light on them even in the darkest moments. Love, acceptance, and hope are not signs of weakness. Instead, they are your greatest strengths.
You should always know your value and self-worth but celebrate your imperfections.
Be kind to yourself. You are only human, and so you will have shortcomings as we all do. Embrace your flaws as part of who you are, never allow them to make you feel inadequate. Perfect does not exist, and if you continuously seek perfection, you will continually seek happiness as well. Realize that these “imperfections” do not make you any less and never allow anyone to make you feel incapable. Remember always, my daughter, your value in this life is irreplaceable.
Understand that no matter how much you learn, you will never know it all.
Recognize that the world is bursting with knowledge and it is impossible for you to gain all of it. Whatever path you pursue in life, remain humble and never stop learning. Acknowledge and appreciate the many teachers you will have throughout this life.
Nurture and care for yourself mind, body, and soul.
There is only one of you, and you need to take care of her. Find the balance of a healthy lifestyle, make “me time” when you need to reboot, and never stop growing as a person.
I hope you will know when to stand up and fight but also know when to walk away.
You should be unwavering when fighting for yourself and your beliefs. Be unapologetic about the things for which you stand. Never compromise yourself or your ideals for anyone, myself included. When the day comes, as it certainly will, when someone expects you to make that compromise or belittles your beliefs walk away confidently. That person will bring no value to your life and will only inhibit your growth.
Relationships will always be more valuable than any amount of money or possessions.
Choose your circle carefully, never settling for people who do not bring light to your life. Cultivate and nurture your friendships. Find a person worthy of sharing your life with and use your love as the foundation for a joyous life. Remain loyal, honest, & supportive of these people. Build time into your busy life for them no matter what. Should you chose to have children, make sure they know how loved and important they are every minute of their lives. Never allow these relationships to tarnish by your pursuit for that almighty dollar.
I pray we can teach you to fail with grace.
It is a lost art in today’s society, but it is as vital as ever. Life is not fair, and it is a guarantee that you will fail at things, or possibly be cheated out of them. Take the high road, persevere, and continue working toward your goals. Failure should not knock you to rock bottom, nor should it cause you to become maligned with resentment. Pick your head up and carry on stronger than before.
Find your passions and never let them go.
When you find something that sparks the fire in your soul, chase it unabashedly. Do not settle for good enough when greatness is within your reach. Set goals and drive yourself closer to achieving your dreams every day.
I hope you never question whether you are worthy of respect.
The answer is always going to be yes. There will be times in life where you will have to earn the respect of your peers. Your voice, however, should always be heard and respected. Know that you should always be treated with respect by those around you and those who can’t provide it do not deserve your time. Likewise, treat everyone you encounter with respect and continue to do so unless they stop deserving it.
Lastly, do be afraid to take risks.
Step outside your comfort zone, fall in love frequently, always be planning your next adventure. Life is unbelievably short, so travel boldly through it and say yes often. You will rarely regret saying yes to experiences but often regret saying no.
You only get one chance at life, my lovely daughter, so do not waste a moment of it.
Love always, your momma
What lessons do you most hope your children carry through life? Let me know about them.