Have you taken time to quantify how valuable you are in the lives of your kid(s)? Likely you haven’t given it much thought since you’re too busy working, shopping, chauffeuring, cooking, cleaning, preparing and care-taking to have time to ponder the bigger picture. Have you ever thought about how valuable your own mom is to you? I bet you have! We tend to undervalue our own role in shaping our children’s futures, and raise kids in ways that make sense to us as we go.
Imagine for a minute that you don’t have the luxury to parent as you go, because you are leaving your young kids tomorrow and you aren’t coming back anytime soon. What would you want your kids to know if they had to live the rest of their lives without you? What guiding principles would you want them to follow? Would your list look like mine? - Heidi Bray
I love you beyond measure and I want you to lead successful lives. Here are some thoughts to guide you on life’s journey. In general, you will get out what you put in, so try hard and make good choices. Don’t quit when things go wrong and make yourself valuable to others by being helpful and kind. Above all, ask yourself how you can make the world a better place, and set out to make it happen every day!
1. Elevate your sibling(s): Hopefully, one day you’ll end up being best friends. Even if you aren’t, treat them kindly, and build them up so that they can reach their full potential.
2. Seek to improve yourself: Learn good organization skills, eat healthy, and practice good hygiene.
3. Don’t do drugs: Be scared of drugs and avoid people who use them. Don’t try illegal drugs (even once) because you might not be able to stop. Once you are of “legal age” research the effects marijuana and alcohol have on the body and mind, how they impact developing brains (which aren’t fully developed until around age 25) and read statistics on accidents related to drugs and alcohol. Then, make a considered decision about how to proceed.
4. Get off that device: Limit your time on all devices. Too much time on social media will make you sad, too much time watching the news will make you mad, and playing too many video games will sap your productivity. Go outside and play. You will be healthier and happier because of it!
5. Move your body: Engage in regular heart pounding activity on most days that gets you up and moving for (at least) 30 minutes to an hour.
6. Know your worth: You have the potential to be the “best” at whatever you set out to do. Only compare yourself to others in proactive ways. Be glad for others when they succeed. Celebrate with them and mean it!
7. Value your friendships: True friendships are hard to find. If you have a good friend or a few, cultivate those relationships.
8. Respect yourself: One day, you will become attracted to people and this will excite you! Wait until you’re mature enough (think college or older) and in love to act on that excitement. Then use protection!
9. Learn from the best: Value advice from people who set good examples in areas where you seek to improve, counterexamples sometimes work too!
10. Attract positivity: Look for the best in others and surround yourself with people who do the same. Don’t let negative people dim your light!
11. Show kindness and appreciation in small and big ways: Offer a hug, hold the door if you get there first, surprise someone with flowers, or send a thoughtful message. Kind words or acts can make someone’s day, week, month, or year! Recognize people who make the world better and leave a big thank you or a big tip!
12. Join a team (of any kind) but don’t take sports too seriously: Become part of a team and learn that cooperation is important, sharing a win is great fun, and losing makes you want try harder next time. Enjoy playing and watching sports, but realize that neither will pay the bills (for most people) one day.
13. Smart people do smart things: It’s not enough to be inherently smart, book smart, or street smart. You must make sound decisions and try hard in order to be successful in life.
14. Aim high and fail gracefully: Set lofty goals. Work to achieve those goals and don’t be afraid to try new things. You will fall short and feel defeated many times over in life. It is important to learn from loss and move on.
15. Broaden your perspective: Get to know people who look at the world through a different lens. Learning new perspectives will help to broaden yourown.
16. Love deeply, even when it hurts: When you experience the loss of a relationship or a loved one, grieve accordingly. Then pick yourself up and get back to making the world better.
17. Seek help if you need it: Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are down. You might need a friend to talk to, or the help of a doctor. When in doubt, make an appointment and talk to a professional. There is no shame in getting help for troubles in your body or your mind.
18. Fall for a furry critter: If circumstances allow, invite a pet into your life. They are faithful friends who love without condition and are great practice for taking care of kids one day.
19. Redefine wealth: Don’t confuse being rich with having a rich life. Find a career path that inspires you. Determine where you can make an impact. If you get rich, great! If you enjoy what you are doing, even better!
20. Keep your friends close: True friends are hard to find. If you have a good friend, or a handful of them, cultivate those relationships by making a point to see them and be there for them.
21. Marry well: Who you marry will impact your life tremendously. Marry a person of high moral character who shares the same goals as you.
22. Procreate: Have kids or adopt when you are ready. Raising them up will make you feel tired and old, but will also bring you great joy and will make your life richer than you can imagine!
23. Life isn’t a fairy tale: Even if you make good decisions, life will still be full of challenges. Don’t give up on something(s) good just because what you have isn’t perfect!
24. Give back: Whether you mentor, coach, or donate your time or money to an organization, it’s important to pay it forward to others. If you live purposefully and make the world a better place, you will have succeeded in this life and can be proud of your accomplishments.
25. Be the change: Each day, ask yourself how you want to make the world a better place and set out to make it happen.