10 Not-So-Ordinary Life Lessons I Want My Kids To Learn

by Blair Armstrong
Originally Published: 

To My Little Ones,

As your one and only mom, there are lots of things I need to teach you in this life. Some are what I would call no-brainers. Don’t hit people when they make you mad. Don’t call people names. Say please and thank you. Be kind. Yada yada. Those ideals have been imparted onto children by their devoted moms and dads since the beginning of time. They’re a cinch, right?

I have another list that is less of a cinch, and will take more time for you to understand. This list has the big dogs. Here is what I hope you will carry in your huge, exquisite hearts always.

1. Be kind to your waiters and waitresses. The only thing that I find more disgusting than chewing with your mouth open is being rude to your server. No one is more disappointing than a spoiled little jerk who acts like their world will implode because they have to wait five more minutes for their jalapeño poppers. Very uncool. Remember your manners and keep your perspective.

2. I am not your friend. I may be someday, but not for a good, long while. I love you more than the moon and the stars combined. I cross my fingers and my heart that your life will be full of devoted pals. I will play games, sing songs and go to every soccer game, but I am not your friend. I am your mom, and my job description is much different.

3. Don’t try to be something you aren’t. This one can be trickier at certain times in our lives—like from puberty until college. We all go through seasons of life when we are unsure of ourselves. There is no such thing as “fake it til you make it,” and whoever made up that saying is a moron. Don’t fake it, ever. Be your beautiful, wonderful self, and if that doesn’t seem to be working out for you, just wait. It will. You can never screw up by being authentic.

4. The world doesn’t owe you anything. You are required to prove yourself to the world. You are not entitled to privilege or greatness or a good job or a fast car just because you exist. You get what you most desire by shining your own light. Be good, be true, and be kind. Then wait for it to come back to you because it does not happen just because.

5. You should only lie to get out of traffic tickets. Otherwise, play it straight. People can spot a liar a mile away and hardly anything is a bigger turn-off. Take a deep breath and tell the truth even when it’s difficult. It’s always better that way.

6. Know yourself. The day will come when you will know what is best for you. That day will mean I have done my job, and I will hopefully be sunning myself somewhere awesome, drinking a cocktail to celebrate. Dream your dreams, and listen for that little nagging voice. That voice is your heart and soul, and everything that makes you, you. Only you can hear it, and you are always right to listen. The world is full of mediocrity because people have ignored themselves.

7. Travel. This world is enormous and breathtaking and rich with wonderful things. Don’t stay in a corner and risk missing it. Spread your wings and fly. I’ll miss you when you’re far, but my heart will be full knowing what you will see and learn. Eat weird food, stay up all night, and live with your eyes wide open. Have an adventure. You won’t regret it.

8. Do small things with greater purpose. Hold doors open, give your spare change to someone in need, pick up trash, look people in the eye when you speak to them. Those things take almost no effort to do, but make a big impact on the world you live in. Never underestimate the power of simple gestures.

9. Don’t judge other people or assume yourself an authority over how they should lead their lives. Worry about yourself. You are not the keeper of the universe so MYOB. We are all connected in this beautiful world, and everyone deserves your kindness, grace and acceptance.

10. Don’t be afraid to love someone with your whole heart. Connection is what defines the human experience. It is beautiful and terrifying and may make you say and do ridiculous things, but trust the process and give it a shot. I love you with my whole heart, and it is the greatest thing I’ve ever done. You will never regret a true love.

Live well and know that even if you miss the mark on every single piece of advice I give you, you are still my favorite people in the whole wide world. You will never be perfect, nor should you attempt it. Perfection is boring, overrated and impossible. Instead, just try to be good.

Love, Mom

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