Hopefully I gave my kids some decent advice. Looking back, it’s hard to remember just what I told them besides the typical nagging and warnings. As I walked today, I thought of a few things that I wish I had said, but to be honest I couldn’t have said because I didn’t know them myself. Here goes:
You are equipped with everything you need to live the life before you.
Life will not always seem fair. People will not always be kind. Keep an open heart as much as possible. Forgive, even if it takes a long time. Walk away when necessary.
Difficulties will come into your life. You have what it takes to get through them, overcome them, or transform them. You will get stronger and better in the process.
It’s o.k. to feel sad, angry, or confused. They’re just feelings and will pass. If you can’t figure out and fix what is causing those feelings, don’t be afraid to just feel them. The same humanness that allows you to feel them will also allow you to feel happiness, gratitude, and delight.
When you mess up and make mistakes, take responsibility for them. It’s not the end of the world. All people make mistakes. Apologize if appropriate; repair or restore if you can. People respect people who are accountable for their words and actions.
The world is a beautiful place, full of wonder and mystery. God made it that way and meant for us to enjoy it and take care of it. Try not to take its beauty for granted or become cynical or jaded. Every day look for something to be grateful for.
Follow your heart, be kind and honest, know that you have great worth but stay humble because everyone else does too. Work hard, especially at the things that matter to you, but don’t be afraid of idle times – they are necessary for a balanced life. Remember that people are more important than things – nurture your relationships, and, unless they are causing physical or emotional pain, accept people for who they are – the way you want to be accepted. Accept and love yourself.
Love matters most.