In a world where it seems like everyone has an opinion on how to raise kids, and many of them seem to suck, I’m going to offer mine. Take it, leave it, or do what you will, these are the messages I find myself giving my kids (and myself) over and over again.
- Your body, mind, and soul are yours, and you have final say as to what happens to them. Likewise, you may ask, but never insist, that another person grant you permission to their body, mind, and soul, and you must respect their wishes.
- Read everything. Even the things you don’t agree with. Especially the things you don’t agree with.
- Never stop asking, “Why?” Never stop asking, “How?” Never stop learning. Ever.
- Befriend those who are easily left out, not out of pity, but because you understand that everyone has potential and value.
- Give credit to others when it’s due, and give it publicly.
- Accept compliments and praise with gratitude and a smile. It’s okay to be proud of a yourself.
- Own up to your mistakes so that you may learn from them.
- When you offer an apology, be specific, and make sure it means you will do your damnedest to never repeat that mistake.
- When you look in the mirror, compliment yourself. Keep doing that until you love the image staring back.
- Give people compliments. Even people you don’t know. Especially people you don’t know. Give them without expectation of reciprocation.
- Build your friendship base with people who hold you up, have your back, and appreciate you for exactly who you are.
- Let go of relationships that wear you down or cause you suffering. Let go without anger, because…
- It’s okay to walk a different path from others. You can respect their right to their path without following in their footsteps or agreeing with their decisions.
- Realize that people change. That includes you.
- Approach hard conversations without preconceived notions or desired outcomes.
- At all times, try to minimize your impact on your surroundings and help out wherever you can.
- Speak kindly to yourself and others.
- “No” is a valid answer to requests of your time or being, and saying it does not make you a bad person.
- Sometimes, the fight cannot be avoided. Stay true to yourself and your convictions, and walk away if you need to.
- Let go of the specifics from your past, and carry with you only the lessons.
- Know yourself fully. Be that.
What it really boils down to is this, my favorite of all the “official” creeds of life: Harm none, and do as you will.
Oh, and kiss your kids and tell them they’re awesome and that you love them. Because they are, and you do.
Blessed be and namaste, folks.