Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hug Yourself

When you have children you become almost obsessed with the thought of what you think they should know as they grow up and go out into the world. At least for me that is the case with my twin daughters. 

They are nine years old and I often wonder if my husband and I are teaching them all they need to know to be equipped for life. And are we even qualified to do this? I understand that life is a learning process and it is our experiences that helps define us.  But what should we teach our kids during the short span they will listen? How can we keep our kids from making the same mistakes that we did? 

Our daughters are lovely people, not just on the outside but on the inside too. At their young age they show considerable compassion. One morning not too long ago I was feeling down about a personal matter. At 10:49 am a reminder popped up for me on my computer; it said “Hug Myself.”  

My daughters, Liz and Lon, suspecting something was bothering me added "hug myself" ” to my morning calendar, so it would pop up long after I had dropped them off at school and was "into" my day.  (An important reminder that our kids are mostly in tune with us.)

Later on while thinking more of their message I was reminded of an old saying  “You try and teach your children about life and they are the ones that teach you what life is all about.”

So Liz and Lon,  I appreciate all you teach me about the truly important things in life and as you grow up there are some things I want you to know.

I hope you never lose your incredible sense of compassion. The other day I heard you having a conversation on our way home from school. One of your close friends "over reacted" at recess about an unimportant matter. When I questioned the friends reaction, you both reminded me, that I did not know what kind of morning their friend had and she may be reacting to something else. You talked to her and helped her be less angry.  Your compassion is a gift to everyone you know and meet. Guard it closely from cynics and pessimists.

You do not need others to validate you. You don't need friends approval to be happy. Don't succumb to peer pressure which can tear your beliefs and identity from your being. 

Surround yourself with friends and loved ones that appreciate you for the beautiful people you are and will let you grow in areas that make you happy.

Stay strong in your faith. Your dad and I are in awe of your strong conviction. Our dinner prayers always include special intentions from you both, asking God to please remember those without a meal or a place to stay tonight.  Your faith and your prayers make our home life a better place.  I pray everyday that your faith grows with you.

Don't forget you are good enough. Don't let the fear of not being the best keep you from doing what makes you happy. Failure is just an opportunity to try again.

Never let cultural or value judgements pollute your thinking.  Most people are introduced to prejudice through the opinion of other adults. Keep your mind open and think the best about people until shown otherwise.  BUT always trust your instincts.  If you feel uncomfortable in any situation never let your manners prevail over your safety.  Cross the street if you have a "bad" feeling about the one you are walking down.  If a person makes you feel annoyed or afraid, leave the situation.  Your instincts are a gift from God, trust it and use it.

Keep learning about anything and everything.  You are both voracious readers and you get so excited about learning new things. Stay open minded, continue to read many genres and stay excited about books and reading.

Be kind, people always remember how you made them feel.

Never stop playing the piano. You both truly have a musical gift. Don't waste it.

You will never need drugs, alcohol, food, more "stuff," or boyfriends to make you happy. To be truly happy concentrate on what is inside of you; your  compassion, faith, mindfulness and gratitude.  Every time you do something meaningful and help to make a difference that will give you true satisfaction and happiness.

Inspire others. Stand up for what is right. 

Keep up your interest in cooking.  Your dad and I love it when you kick us out of the kitchen so you two can create your own recipes. You are little kitchen chemists changing recipes to be more healthy. Make healthy meals from scratch for yourselves and those you love.  It will bring you great joy.

Save. Save. Save. Money not things. Adapt a lifestyle of more experiences and less things. Don't spend if you don't have the cash. Learn to live with less. Simplify. It will make you happy, I promise.

Be spontaneous. Your life will be so much more interesting.

Keep being active and never stop but have fun doing it. In addition to a healthy body and mind you will meet new people. You will never regret the time you take to stay active. 

Learn perspective especially when experiencing stress. Is the situation something so important that it will matter in a week?  If so don't be afraid to ask for help. 

Accept change as a life adventure.  Learn to have a flexible attitude.  Open your heart to new experiences. That was how I dealt with our cross country moves. In return I have made life-long friends in places far from where we live now.  And the memories are absolutely priceless.

And don't forget to hug yourself every day. 

You are beautiful inside and out and I love you infinity.  


“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 

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