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5 Things I Want My Children To Know & Believe, Part Deux

September 13th, 2010

The other day, I received an email from someone who told me they enjoyed reading the post I’m about to re-publish here. In truth, I’d completely forgotten about it, but think now would be a perfect time to revisit it seeing as I need a parenting status check. I’ve been — um — challenged by my daughters lately and it’s important that I remember my “mom mission statement,” which is, in short: don’t eff them up too bad.

 

I wrote today’s post awhile ago, in fact it was one of my first on San Diego Momma. In looking at it now, I realize that I still believe it as strongly as I did almost three years ago.

 

Also, and finally, and in summation, I want to offer a PROMPTuesday based on this rehashed post: What five things do you want your children to know and believe?

 

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1) Popularity isn’t worth it.

If I have any regret in my life, it’s that I spent so much time and worked so hard to be popular. It consumed me. In fact, I have a whole section in my adolescent diary devoted to “How to Be Popular.” (An especially lame, but earnest tip was “Take Shower Every Day.”) This goal was informed by the Sweet Valley High book series, and once I realized the dream and it was just as I imagined (parties! football games! Prom court!) I didn’t see until much later, that I’d wasted the opportunity to nurture the other things in my life. I lost time with my family. I didn’t pursue my interests, I didn’t personally develop. So many of my “other” interests – writing, for one, sat in the back seat while I focused on which Esprit outfit I’d wear to the Friday night dance. Truth be told, I still have and cherish several of my high school friends, but I wish popularity hadn’t been everything to me. It stilted my development. I didn’t become all I could be. I was too busy shopping.

 

Most likely, my girls will feel the pull to be popular. I wish with all my heart that they’d know it just doesn’t matter, that what you’re left with is yourself. So work on that instead.

 

And as an addendum to this point: Be fully yourself. Don’t try to be anyone else because you think it will get you liked, or admired, or laid. Really kids, It’s a waste of time to be anyone but you. Use that time to grow into yourself.

 

2) Everything always works out.

We play “Three Little Birds” at home a lot. Its key message – “everything little thing is gonna be allright” – is something I want to burrow into my kids’ brains. Because not everything is going to feel allright. But it is all part of the path – even death – and when you’re in the flow of life, you know you’re right where you need to be. I want my kids to truly believe that everything that happens to them are pieces of the mosaic they are becoming, and to know: Every little thing is going to be all right. (Doesn’t mean it won’t hurt sometimes though.)

 

3) That loving feeling in your heart? That’s God.

Don’t you love how it feels when you’re on the couch, with one kid snuggling next to you, the other curled up to your husband/partner/dog/cat, whose feet/socks/paws you’re touching with your own? That feeling is holy and sacred. I want to teach my kids to nurture that feeling, share it, make other people feel it. That’s God in the everyday. I want my kids to recognize that feeling. Trust in it. Rest in it. Share it.

 

4) The hard things are worth doing. So are the easy things.

I want to be a writer. But it’s hard – (there’s all the writing, for instance). Writing needs to be done everyday to grow the craft. But what’s the alternative? Wishing, hoping, waiting, regretting? Now that’s hard. So do what you want to do. Work at it. It ain’t gonna be easy. But either is regret.

 

Then there’s the easy things. Some people are just lovely to be around. Some wonderful things are effortless – maybe writing comes easy to you? (If so, please just shut up about it. Go write your book.) If any of these things give you the happy, peaceful feeling inside, do them. It’s worth it.

 

5) It’s OK to ask for help.

This is my observation: there’s a shortage of community these days. The connection to church, extended family, neighbors, is frayed. Support networks are hard to find. We can often feel alone with our anxiety, depression, fears. Sometimes it’s even hard to find someone with whom to share our happiness.

 

So, I search support out. I want my kids to do the same. I want them to know they can always talk to mommy, but if they feel they can’t, I want them to find a pastor, a supportive teacher, a friend’s mother. Someone they can trust.

 

Also, don’t forget that friends can be a gift. I love my book club, my mom’s group, my small circle of longtime girlfriends to who I can tell anything. You need to tell everything sometimes. And things won’t feel so bad.

 

Because very little thing really is gonna be all right.

 

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Also…I was inspired to re-post this by the current SITS Girls “Back to Blogging” event, where they encouraged folks to re-publish the first post they’d ever written. Read more about the weeklong event here.

 

On February 13th, 2008, Steph said:

Brava. As to #1, I was the kid who tried really, really hard to be popular and never *quite got there, until I quit trying altogether. In eighth grade, I decided I just didn’t care anymore. I was me, and I had rad friends, and that was good enough. From then on, social “success”. (Cheerleading, parties, blahblahblah.) Go figure.

I’m trying my hardest to teach my kids that people are attracted to others who are absolutely themselves, completely genuine and authentic. Even kids understand when someone’s being phony.

On February 13th, 2008, Stacey said:

Beautiful post!

On February 13th, 2008, Absolutely Bananas said:

Great post. I am loving your blog!

On September 13th, 2010, Natalie said:

This is beautiful. I’m scared to know what my first post was… I had no idea about blogging then!

Hmm… I struggled with the fifth… it would be something about pursuing your dreams I think — if I was as eloquent as you!

1. You are a child of God, He knows you and loves you
2. You are loved by your parents no matter what you do
3. Follow your heart
4. Love doesn’t hurt. Ever. No matter how great of a guy/girl he is.
5. Go to college.

On September 13th, 2010, theresa said:

Beautiful!

On September 13th, 2010, foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) said:

I can’t even tell you what my favorite part of this post is, because everything is perfect. I want to print this out and tuck it away so my son’s find it and know these are all things I need and want them to know.

Simply beautiful!

On September 13th, 2010, Sherry Kronenfeld said:

One of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE SONGS is Three Little Birds. Beautiful post, Deb. You continue to inspire me.

On September 13th, 2010, Smalltown Mom said:

Such excellent advice, not only for children but for everyone.

On September 13th, 2010, Everyday Mama said:

Love these — you are so eloquent!

On September 13th, 2010, Jill said:

So true lady … so very true!

On September 13th, 2010, Mama Mary said:

I had no idea you sing “Three Little Birds” at your house regularly when I sent you that message saying I was singing Bob Marley for you on your boob day. I even questioned if you knew what I was talking about but then I remembered the whole SS thing and I knew you would know.
I LOVE all of these 5 things. I will have to do some serious thinking before I come up with my own, and since I hate to think, it might be awhile. But I will. Stay tuned. xoxox

On September 14th, 2010, green girl in wisconsin said:

What a great set of lessons. Amen to ALL of them!!!

On September 14th, 2010, San Diego Momma said:

You girls are all inspirers! I love what was posted here in the comments.

Love you all.

On September 14th, 2010, Jamie said:

You know Deb, I haven’t blogged in ages…where *ages* means, what’s a blog? And sadly, I haven’t read much either, blogs or otherwise. It’s a phase. I wane. I wax. I wane. I wax. Wait, is this a Mr. Miagi thing…?

So, anyways, I stumbled here tonight and fell in love. Again. With you, and your heart, and with words. Thank you. Truly.

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