As your Dad and I dropped you off at the airport the other morning to return to college, I had a slight moment of panic. What if I haven’t taught you everything you need to know? What if I have failed as a mother because you can only make quesadillas and you still don’t separate your whites from your darks? What if all my words of wisdom are crowded out in your minds due to quotes from The Simpsons or Internet memes? I fear I may have missed my chance, so with that in mind, here’s what I would like you to know as you venture into the world:
Speak Kind Words. To each other, to those around you, and, most importantly, to yourself. Words are powerful and can be used to lift and serve or cut and demean. Always ask yourself: “Would I like to be talked to the way I am talking now?” and you can’t go wrong.
Serve Others. Much more joy comes from thinking outside of yourself. There is always someone you can sit next to, say hello to, or help. Always. We are literally God’s hands on this earth, so get to work.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables. I’m begging you. One can only eat so many quesadillas or bowls of Ramen and think coherently. An apple, a carrot. Something.
Don’t Let Fear Sabotage You. Too many people let fear (of failure, discomfort, the unknown, spiders…) keep them from being the person they want to be and that God wants them to be. I’ve seen too often when people miss out on amazing opportunities and growth because they are afraid. Embrace your fear and then do what you are afraid of.
Try New Things. We are not meant to be “comfortable.” Growth comes from stepping outside our comfort zones and stretching. Meet new people, join a club or team, try a new class, ask a girl on a date. I know it’s scary–particularly the girl thing. Do it anyway.
If You Don’t Like Something, Change It. You are smart, talented, witty, good-looking, spiritual people (thanks to your good genes). If you don’t like the direction you are headed, do something about it. If you don’t like something about yourself or your situation, change it. We are meant to improve–not to be stagnant. There is great power in changing habits, thoughts, or actions that we don’t like.
I’m Proud Of You. I know I’m not supposed to be proud, but I am. Who would have thought that little boys who played “Fun Town” and memorized Sponge Bob quotes would grow up to be so amazing? I did. I may have worried along the way and nagged, cajoled, and cried, but deep down, I knew.
I love you,
Question: What are some pieces of advice that you shared with your children before they left home?
Challenge: For those with young children, decide what you would like to teach your children before they leave home, and then make a plan to accomplish it!
Edited by Briana Heinonen and Nollie Haws.
Image from Shutterstock, via Pixabay; graphic by Anna Jenkins.