What I want to talk about right now is my children. My oldest is now in the fifth grade. At the end of 4th they did the whole "puberty/body changing" lesson. It was a really great opportunity to sit and talk with her about things that aren't necessarily very comfortable to talk about it. And it got me thinking about some things I want my kids to know that I probably don't take enough time to sit and talk to them about.
So here's an open letter to my kids:
What I wish for all of you to learn, earlier rather than later in life:
First of all, I wish for you to not let other people dictate how you feel about yourselves. What I mean by this, is that if someone (anyone: a friend, an adult, a stranger, some kid on the playground) says you're not good at something, or makes fun of you, or teases you--to not let that matter. It really doesn't matter what anyone else says because YOU are amazing. You astonish me with your creativity, your sense of humor, your capacity to love people, your ability to learn things so quickly. I look at you in awe, I stare at you and can't believe you are mine and God is letting me keep you for awhile. You are super special, and so is everyone else. Remember that people say things all the time for lots of different reasons that might hurt us. Maybe they feel bad about themselves, maybe they're jealous of you, maybe they're just feeling mean that day, maybe they didn't think what they said was all that mean, whatever the reason is, it doesn't matter. Words are careless sometimes, and sometimes YOU will say things that hurt other people. Don't let your self worth depend on what other people think of you. Who are they anyway? Focus on what God thinks of you, and God thinks you're pretty wonderful. Thats all that matters. (Let me tell you a trick, if someone makes fun of you, shrug it off and don't let them know it bothers you. Even better, don't let it actually bother you. :) If you can laugh and say "Oh well, does that make you feel better about yourself?" things will be easier. Promise.)
With all your awesomeness and specialness, that still doesn't make you better than other people. Don't act superior and arrogant and bring other people down. You'll find a lot of people like that. Nobody likes it. Whether you really ARE smarter than someone, ARE better than someone at something, remember humility because there are better people than you out there too. Be kind and grateful for the things you are good at, and don't ever make someone feel less than you. They're God's child too.
Laugh. Laugh and laugh and laugh some more. Find humor in things instead of focusing on the bad. Its going to be hard. Its easy to point out the annoying, bad things in life. Its much harder to go through a terrible situation and find something to smile about. Do that though and your life will be so much easier. I love this quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley: "You can either laugh or you can cry. I prefer to laugh, crying gives me a headache."
Don't be afraid to resolve a situation. That doesn't mean to say mean things to people whenever they bother you, but it also doesn't mean to let people walk all over you. If someone treats you badly, in a calm way tell them how you feel. They might yell at you, they might get upset, they might never want to talk to you again. Thats their problem and they will have to resolve it. (It might hurt you a lot too.) Still, you get to dictate how you let people treat you, and if people can't be nice, you don't HAVE to stay around them. Sometimes its hard to remember when we're taught to be nice to everyone, that we don't have to be best friends with everyone. Still be nice but set boundaries. Thats ok.
Pray. Turn your heart to God, He will never fail you. Pour your heart to Him, He will listen. He understands. He will ease your burdens and give you answers. But remember, He doesn't just take everything away, you have lessons to learn and you must learn them, so pray to know how to learn the lesson, not for Him to take it away. You will become stronger from these lessons and an even better person, the closer you draw to God, the more your heart will be open to learning and loving and getting answers. Always stay close to Him, you will never regret it.
Its okay when you make mistakes! We all do it! Nobody is perfect and you are just not going to be. Sometimes you will mess up, sometimes really badly. I will still love you and so will God. Don't expect yourself to be perfect right away, don't let the guilt of mistakes make you not want to try anymore. When you do mess up, take care of it and try again to do better. Work a little more and a little more towards doing the best you can, but you can't expect to do everything perfectly and right every single time. Just keep trying, thats all I ask. Don't give up.
Work hard. You're going to see people all around you and their lives are going to look perfect and better and more appealing. That is a lie. You don't know their whole situation and even if things do seem easier for them, they aren't. To get good things you have to learn to work hard. You're expectations of what you want, can't exceed how hard you work. If you want something a lot of people don't obtain, you have to be willing to work harder and take the time to get there. And its okay to be satisfied with less than what others have. There is no reason to think you need a ginormous house or make tons of money to feel legitimate. Think about how silly that sounds: This person is better than me because their house is bigger and more expensive. Thats dumb. Are they a nice person? Do they treat people respectfully? Do they serve and love and help others? THAT makes a good person, not possessions. Learn this lesson and you will feel so much happier than constantly competing with the people around you. Its just not worth it.
I may not be perfect at these things, but having lived my life so far, I know if I had learned these things and put them into practice earlier I would be so much happier. I'm not saying my life would be easy, we still all have trials and hardships, but so much happier. And THAT is important.
Your mom loves you so much! I only want to give you the most important things in life, and that doesn't always include "stuff." I want to give you the best parts of me even though I fail and mess up. There's another lesson I had to learn: parents aren't perfect. We're people too. We don't always know how to control ourselves or whats the best thing to do in a situation, but we are trying our hardest to do our best. So try and remember that for me okay?
I could probably still add a lot more, but it just got too long. :) What else would YOU add? Is there something really important I left out? Isn't being a parent so hard sometime?!
2 hours ago