Hey There Mamas,
I worry. I worry a lot. I worry about whether or not I brushed my teeth and if the people I meet today will see this huge pimple on my face that makeup won't hide. I worry my house isn't clean enough and wonder if I cooked a good enough dinner for my husband last night. I worry if my husband likes me today. I know he loves me, but does he like me? It's equally important in my book. I worry about hurting people's feelings and often agree with their opinions, thoughts, and actions instead opting to disagree because that's what we do right? We fit in. We go with the status quo. We stumble like cattle into our routine 9-5 jobs and consistently try to be that round peg that fits perfectly into a round hole. Even if we are square.
Recently, a situation I encountered struck a cord with me. My 3 year old was misbehaving, getting stuck in timeout frequently and not playing well with others. On one particular day, I arrived and she was sitting by herself off to the side, weeping for getting in trouble. A teacher told her that she has to obey and be nice, otherwise when she goes to school, she won't fit in. Tears came to my eyes. I knelt down beside her and because we were in front of everyone, I disciplined her. I told her that is exactly what she has to do. I was initially embarrassed. So, I defaulted to follow suit of the teacher because I respected her. But after we left, I had to tell my daughter that I didn't agree about everything that was said. I went on to say that she does need to be kind to others. She needs to share, and learn and listen. But, her goal need not ever be, to fit in. We've grown up our entire lives with it engrained that we can't be ourselves. We need to be taller, smarter, shinier, and rich(er). He has to like her and he can't like [him]. Boys have to have short hair, act tough and should never be caught in a skirt. Girls have to have long, flowing hair, wear pink, dance like a princess and be gentle in their speech.
Just hand anyone who doesn't fit into the mold, a bible and everything will fall into place. Right?
Here are five lessons I want my kids to know as they grow. Hopefully the next time you or I encounter a situation where we have to have a tough talk with our kids, we can offer some better advice.
1. It's okay to be uncomfortable - Not everyone will like you in life. Not everyone will appreciate what makes you special. So, as you grow, it is okay to put your true feelings and self out there. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You will find in the long run, it ends up being way easier to be you, than to be something you are not. If doing something scares, you, do it anyways. If you feel passionate about something and you know it's just too important not to try it, then I support the decision. But don't pick and eat your boogers just to try it. That is one thing that will definitely not be a good decision.
2. Doubt The Default and Think Big- If you are going to be thinking already, think big. Never take the easy road. If you follow that yellow brick road, you will find it is a false façade. If you want to be original, doubt the default. Question the motives and the statistics on the front page of the newspaper. 98% of the time you'll find they are false. Go the extra mile, dig deep and find the true answer. Whatever you are searching for.
3. Be Quick To Start and Slow To Finish - Don't be afraid to start a project or take on a challenge. But, give it time. Research, learn, try and try again to build your empire. The world wasn't built in a day and we shouldn't expect results in a day. Your masterpiece will come if you keep putting one foot in front of the other until it is crafted.
4. Be the author of your story - While I hope you learn a lot from me and others in life, don't let others define you. If there comes a day where you can't find a job or career or place, create your own.
5. Remember there is no place like home - As you find your way in life you'll encounter good times and bad. When life doesn't feel safe or when you want to celebrate a big win please know that no matter where your roam there’s no place like home.