When you’re raising your kids and they enter the school age, things really begin to change. That’s when they encounter some of the harder lessons in life that develop character. They get their firsthand experience of being left out of a classmate’s party, while everyone else was invited. They experience what it’s like to not make the sports team or get a bad grade. Learning how to deal with those things is so important because they’re markers for how they’ll deal with the bigger life lessons when they become adults.
None of my kids are straight-A students. They’ve also never been the star players in sports. Much to their disappointment, the athletic genes in our family were not strong. But I can tell you that they are strong-minded kids. They have encountered a lot in their lives that have and will continue to help them develop character. More than anything, I want them to launch into adulthood being grounded and good people. I don’t expect them to be perfect, I know I wasn’t and still am not. My launch was more like a horrible attempt to take-off with no gas in the plane. Somewhere out in a field nearby my plane crashed. It happens to the best of us and I can say now I’m a fully functioning adult who has done well for herself. But man, I could have done without some of those hard lessons. They were costly.
So, looking forward as I’m about to launch my firstborn into adulthood, I’ve asked myself, “what do I want her to know?” I think my answer is pretty simple. The two best bits of advice I can give her are 1. Don’t be a jerk. 2. Don’t be an idiot. I think as humans if we would practice them more often, we’d all come out on the winning side. Show kindness to others that you would want to be given back to you. If it’s not given back to you, give it anyways. It’s just the golden rule simplified. Go the extra mile to be nice to someone. What you put out in the universe will come back to you tenfold. You may not see it right away, but I absolutely believe that statement.
I know she’s going to have many choices in front of her. Some good and some not so good. I don’t want her to be afraid to fail but choosing wisely is important. I pray she uses her best judgment when it comes to life decisions. Many times, the bigger decisions in life mold and direct our life path. You can always redirect your path, but you shouldn’t take some of the bigger choices in front of you so lightly. Part of the reason why I launched so poorly was that I didn’t give a lot of thought to some of the decisions I was making. I let others decide for me what I should have been doing myself. It’s a hard lesson to learn.
As a mom, I want to be the best source of wisdom and encouragement I can be for her. I want to be the soft place that she can fall when things are stressful. I also want to be her biggest fan when she does amazing things! Because she will do both and I want to show her love and grace in it all.
Life is hard, but sometimes I think we also make it more complicated than it needs to be. We can’t escape the difficult moments, but we can choose the attitude we use to handle those moments. I want these kids of mine to just know how blessed I am to be their mom and them being amazing humans hits right at the top of the success marker for me. I want them to leave this world better than they found it. If they want to be President someday, I’ll be their biggest supporter. I’ll also equally support them if their goals are not that lofty.
Maybe instead of asking, “what do you do?” we should be asking “who are you becoming?” It’s easy to think that what I do isn’t important or shiny enough for the world. But who you are becoming? That’s where the good stuff resides.