When I came home from the Hallmark Event in August, I was so inspired to tell my kids how much I love them and what I see in them. And, I got sidetracked by life – back to school chaos, soccer, you name it. I didn’t forget completely. I make sure to send them into school every morning with a hug telling them how much I love them. I just never got around to making the video I wanted to make for them with the message I think they need to hear.
My oldest son is a sophomore in high school this fall. College is looming. I feel frustrated as I watch him stay home and avoid opportunities to try new things. I’m okay if he doesn’t know what he wants to do yet. That’s fine. I just want him out there trying stuff.
So, I made a list of things to tell my oldest son and his siblings over and over again. Because it’s that what parents do. We tell our kids our expectations for them, and we act on those expectations for ourselves.
My Advice for My Children
1. Get Yourself out in the world!
I always try to encourage my children to try new things, whether it’s joining Cub Scouts or going to a Boy Scout Leadership Training course. Yes, we’re all nervous about trying something new. Take a breath, say a prayer, and just do it.
2. Explore, Create, and Experiment.
I realize this is similar to #1, however, I want my kids to be creative and think outside the box wherever they go. Mix it up. Pair stripes with flowers. Build awesome Lego creations that will stun the Lego designers.
3. Be honest and humble.
I learned this lesson again in a big way this summer when dealing with an issue with a long-time friend. None of us are perfect. We all contribute to difficult situations. The important thing is to be responsible for your own mistakes and apologize for them. Then,let go and let God.
4. Relationships are the fabric of our lives.
Living in a family of 7, I think my children grasp this reality on a daily basis. We live in a community which shares a decent-sized house. We all sit down together for dinner every night. We all share whatever resources are available whether it’s the couch in the living room or money for extracurricular activities.
While I think manners are important, I care more if my children are kind, loving, and nurturing of one another and other people in their life. I want them to hold the door open for an older person because we help each other.
I want them to understand there are no neutral exchanges. You either leave someone a little better or a little worse.
This does sound like #1! Except, I was thinking of living fully in each moment which my children do very well. Hence, the difficulty of moving on to the next thing like setting the table.
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