Parenting feels like a whole lot of mental gymnastics!
The months leading up to my daughters’ birth, I would get caught up trying to visualize what the baby would look like, not knowing she was a girl. I wondered about her eyes ~ the colour and shape they would be; the lips; the hands and feet… whether the baby would be born with hair. I would wonder about her personality ~ the questions were endless. Then she arrived and those questions were answered which triggered a whole lot of new thoughts. Now my mind is preoccupied with all of the things I want her to learn, experience and know and it feels like the list is ever growing (insert head explosive emoticon here).
I once heard a saying that it takes a whole village to raise a baby. The endless parenting blogs, social media forums and every personal opinion is keeping that saying alive. At first I was preoccupied with reading all the articles that gave advice on how to raise a ‘perfect’ child. It took but a few moments to stop reading them and sit back and think.
I didn’t want to mold the perfect child, dictated by societies standards. I want my daughter to grow into the person she will choose to be. I chose to shut out the millions of voices on these topics and have looked to make this much more basic.
Here are a few things I want to teach my daughter:
- Always practice kindness
Never underestimate the value of your kindness extended to another, even to those who many be rude to you ~ they are often the ones in need of kindness the most.
There will be many people you will encounter in this world that will challenge you emotionally ~ it’s important that you never drop your personal standard to match another. And remember, take others as they are – sometimes that includes the warts and all.
- Use your common sense
The world can be a scary place ~ unfortunately this is largely out of your control, but don’t be afraid to live in it. Question everything around you at all times ~ do not blindly accept what you are being presented with and use your own judgment. Your intuition will be a powerful tool in your possession.
Your teenage years will present many challenging circumstances (and while those years are a great distance away, my heart already clenches are what you may be faced with) but face each of them with common sense and the knowledge that you have choices to make and that power is in your hands. With every circumstance remember there are consequences.
- Love your body
I once heard a quote that I can’t quite find the origins for now but it goes
I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. If you could, you would see just how beautiful you are, and the extraordinary miracle of being you.
The moment you were born I looked at you and was astounded by your beauty. I loved every tiny inch of you and as I continue to watch you grow, I continue to love each and every part of you.
In the cycle of life the body will continue to change. You will go through lots of different external versions of yourself ~ that is normal. There will be times where you may find it challenging to accept these changes ~ that is normal too but remember to love your body for all it gives you ~ the ability to wake every day and engage with life wholly and completely.
Nourish your body with goodness from the foods and drinks you consume to the activities you will engage in.
Taste the foods of the world! Dance and climb and run and jump! Use your body as an important tool in the life you will create.
- Give care to your mind.
The greatest assets you will ever possess are your thoughts. You will have many of them and no doubt you are already expressing the many you possess now.
Never forget the train your mind to remain open. Welcome new thoughts and ideas all the time. The more you nourish your mind, the greater rewards you will reap as you will continue to view the world around you in new ways.
- Embrace technology but…
You will never know life without advanced technology. You will be encountering technologies that haven’t even been conceived yet. You will also hear the ‘old people’ (mostly Dad and I) talk about what life was like before technology took over and you will no doubt shake your head at our ‘strange’ descriptions of life. We will no doubt shake our heads at the new technologies that we will have difficulties in grasping.
Embrace the technology and learn to live with it to your advantage ~ yet remember there is a world out there that needs to be smelt, felt, seen and heard by you ~ all of which technology has nothing to do with.
Feel the sensation of the ocean as you swim within it and of the grass when you walk upon it.
Watch an amazing sunset.
Listen to the sounds of a rainforest and waterfall or the thundering clap of a wave smashing
against the shore.
Smell the amazing scents of the trees and the ocean or the foods created from the earth.
Remember to switch off from technology and live outside of it. That is where you will create the greatest memories.
- Never compromise your happiness
Life has much to offer you. Open your hands out to the universe and accept all of the marvelous gifts it has and watch your happiness flow. However ~ Happiness will not always come easy. You will have to work on it and often look for it in times where circumstances may be difficult. There will be times where you will be faced with choices that may make another person happy at the cost of your own ~ think carefully about these choices and always remember that if someone honestly and genuinely cares for you, they would not seek to have you compromise your own happiness for theirs.
What makes you happy today may not make you happy tomorrow ~ that’s okay. Be flexible enough and brave enough to make the choices as to what makes you happy and never settle for anything short of it.
- You cannot save the world… but…
It is not your job to change or fix another person – nor is it your job to be the hero in someone else’s story ~ but never stop doing what you can to make the world a better place. Always think of the footprint you are living upon the soul of the world.
There will be people who will reach out for your help and because you will (hopefully) be exercising your kindness you will provide assistance but keep in mind that your morals, values and thoughts may not be universal. Tread carefully in imposing your ideals of life on another. Instead learn to listen to the help they are seeking and do not judge them for not accepting your help – even when they have asked for it. Everyone deals with their lives in their own way and time.
- Listen to your soul
Take the time to learn about the person you are ~ remember that this person will evolve and change over your lifetime ~ and this is okay ~ but at every point through your life’s journey pause to listen to who you are becoming and it is a collective decision between your heart and your mind as to whether this version fits with your morals and values.
You will experience happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, grief and every emotion in between on the rainbow of emotions ~ this is okay and often the appropriate reactions to the situations life will throw at you. Remember that nothing bad lasts forever and in the toughest of situations ask the question ~ will this matter in five years? The answer is usually no… unless you are a teenager and every circumstance will feel like the worlds end is nearing. I promise you – nothing bad lasts forever.
- Mistakes will happen…
You will make choices that in hindsight may not have been the best ones to have made. I will expect you make many perceived mistakes ~ that is okay, but with every ‘mistake’ I ask you to learn from it. Take the lesson you need and move forward. Do not dwell on them or fall into fear of making another, halting your life’s progression. Dust off your knees, Keep moving forward. There will be ‘mistakes’ that you may need help to fix ~ this is also okay. It is important that you understand you can always ask for help. Dad and I will always help regardless of the problem free of judgment. There isn’t anything that cannot be fixed.
- Dream Big! Aim High! But…
There is nothing in this world that you cannot accomplish. There is no dream too big or out of your reach. We will tell you that you can be absolutely anything you want to be or as many things as you want to dream to be! There is no limit to your goals but! Never forget that all your goals are within your hands to attain – through hard work – through determination – through your own motivation.
No one else will hold your hand to push you in life better than yourself. No one will hand your dreams to you ~ it is for you to work hard to achieve it. You will be so much prouder of yourself when you reach your hard earned goals with your own determination.
Dad and I will proud of you and love you always.