To my Children,
I love you with all my heart and I only want the very best for you. This world we live in, now, is a funny place. There was positive Peer pressure when I was growing up that I don’t see happening, now. Not that there aren’t good people out there, but it seems like some of the “common sense” life lessons don’t hold the same weight now as they did then. Those “life lessons” are just as important now, in fact, they may be even more important but they aren’t as prevalent. I realize that talking like this only widens and exaggerates the age gap between us but I feel that there is a limited time for me to influence and instill these values within you. I know that I tell you these things, ALL THE TIME (insert massive eye roll here) but I think these are too important for me to remain quiet.
1. Work Hard
I don’t care what anyone around you is doing or how hard they are working. Your employer is paying YOU for your time. Give them your best. Lead by example. Set the bar high. You will get noticed and your efforts will never be in vain. Your best may look differently than that of others around you. I’m not holding you to someone else’s standards……YOU do YOUR best. And always be aware of what around you is needing to be done. Pick up the slack. And if you don’t know…..ASK! Communication will be your best tool, in ALL ASPECTS of life.
2. Be Respectful
Let the virtue of Respect emanate from every cell of your being. Be respectful in your actions, with your words, to your employers and fellow employees, to customers…..to humanity, in general. But also be respectful of yourself. If you respect yourself, others will respect you.
3. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is critical. Work hard and then let it go, when you are done for the day. It’s not your job to carry the weight of the world. You are not responsible to do more than you can. If you work hard, and work smart; be proud of what you’ve accomplished and don’t carry the weight of what you couldn’t do. Take care of yourself, because YOU are responsible for your well being. Setting boundaries is something that needs to be learned and exercised in ALL areas of life.
Get good at setting and enforcing YOUR boundaries.
It’s critical to know what things that you are responsible for and what things you are not responsible for. Take care of the things you are responsible for and learn to be okay with letting the things you are not responsible for, go. As your Nana says, “Not my pig. Not my Farm.”
4. Be okay with saying NO.
It’s okay to say no. If you work hard, and are respectful…..then setting and honouring your boundaries is ok. You do not have to accept every shift or help out everytime you are asked. Do what you can/want/need to do, but also know that too much is not a good thing. Being available is one thing but being “used” is completely different. Practise saying “No.” I know that sounds silly, but it’s an important skill to learn. Unfortunately, too many people haven’t learned to say it, and then end up burned out and resentful towards others, when it’s their own lack of ability to set and enforce personal boundaries.
5. Know your Value, Your Worth and Your Principals
Yes, I know you are still figuring your self out BUT……You do have value. You do have worth. and You do have principals. Knowing who you are and what you stand for will make a huge difference between allowing yourself to get pushed around and being a leader.
- Know what you want or don’t want
- Know what you are okay with or not okay with
- Know whats important to you and what’s not important to you
These things require actual thought. If you do not make a decision, you have still made a choice. Every choice has a consequence. Its that whole Newton’s Third Law thing……
6. Weigh Your Choices and Be able to Live with the Consequences
When faced with a decision, look at all sides and determine the likely consequences. Think through what you are willing to deal with and move forward confidently. Choices have consequences, some positive and some negative. You may need to make a decision and have to choose which negative consequence you are willing to live with. But allowing things to happen and saying its “out of your control” isn’t respectful to yourself or others. Own your choices and the resulting consequences. Be Purposeful in your actions and words.
7. Choose Your Feelings and Emotions Wisely.
You are responsible for YOUR feelings and emotions. Choose wisely. To say that someone else “makes you so mad or angry” is giving them the control over your emotions. Take responsibility for your own feelings and emotions. Don’t allow the “emotional weather” of a place, person or situation dictate your emotional response. Only you have the power and ability to dictate what you feel and how you choose to respond in any given situation. Choose to make the best out of every situation and allow others their right to their own feelings and emotions. Other peoples negativity should not define your life.
Finding balance is so important. Family, Friends, School, Self and Work (Listed in Alphabetical order not in Position of Importance) are all important. You must work to find the balance. It requires effort to do so. Again, not making the effort to “find balance” is still making a choice……and probably one with negative consequences for yourself and those around you.
Finding your Tribe, Village, Community, or whatever you want to call it, is also important. These days, we seem to be so caught up in the busy-ness of life. But it is critical to have people that you can give into and draw from. We all go through ups and downs, but having the opportunity to give and receive love, support, advice and even challenges, helps us as we navigate this crazy journey.
I’m mentioning Rest, because it’s something I believe that we need to be intentional about. Whether its a long bath, a walk along a river, journaling, art, etc……..I believe that it’s critical to disconnect from the busy-ness of the world, to do something that “feeds” your soul; and recharges us, wholly (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). Your cell phone wont work without being charged and you won’t either. It may be possible to limp along for a bit but in the long run (and life is a long run) you have to recharge, you might as well be intentional about it.
You have been given an incredible gift. Life is a gift. You have the opportunity to make it incredible or to squander it. Be Purposeful! Be Present! Don’t stand by, passively, and allow life to carry you along. Be intentional! You have an incredible opportunity to create a life that you love and can be proud of, regardless of the ups and downs that life brings your way.
I promise that I will continue to remind you of these things but know that I see you. I see the incredible people that you are, and that you are becoming; and I am so very VERY proud of you. You are amazing. You are incredible . I am confident that you will grow and impact our world positively, just because of who you are. Keep on Keeping on, My Loves!