Sometimes time gets away from us. We find ourselves chasing one unfinished task to the next until before we know it, it’s bedtime. I make a point of having one on one time at the end of the day with each of my girls. It’s only 5 minutes, but for those 5 minutes they are the center of my attention and can tell me anything. Currently, they are figuring out how to be a friend in a world of elementary school yard gossip. These moments leave me with little snippets of advice I wish I could tell them everyday. Tiny scraps of wisdom I wish they could carry around in their pockets as they face the world.
1. My door is always open. I know it might not seem like it at 1am when you’ve already been up several times and I’m telling you to go back to bed. But it is true. You can always talk to me about ANYTHING. If you ask something I think is too grown up for you, I will find an age appropriate way to answer you. But I promise not to lie, and I promise not to tell you some weird half truth because I’m uncomfortable.
2. It doesn’t matter what that other girl said. Sometimes immature people use insults to make themselves feel better. What she said has ALMOST no reflection of you, it’s only showing her true colours.
3. Pay attention to how you treat others. You know how I said before that an insult has ALMOST no reflection of you? If someone insults you, examine your own actions. It’s possible it was provoked. Make sure that you are treating people kindly. You will be surprised at how much being kind to others will improve how they treat you.
4. Own your mistakes. By this I don’t mean stubbornly cling to false information because you made a mistake. I mean a clear “My bad, sorry” will earn you respect from your peers and from others.
5. Don’t blame your sister. I think the one phrase I’m most tired of hearing is “SHE started it!” And at the risk of sounding like my own mother “It doesn’t matter WHO started it. STOP IT.” Whether you like it or not right now, your sister will be your friend for life.
6. Include your sister/Leave your sister alone. Both of you have different social needs. One of the great challenges in life is balancing your needs against those of someone else. If you want your sister to leave you alone, you can make her a deal. “I’ll play with you for half an hour but then I want to read by myself.”
7. Try it. You might like it. How do you know you don’t like macaroni and cheese if you refuse to try it? Seriously, I’m tempted to keep a list on the fridge of foods you said were too gross to try but then ultimately turned out to like. So far the list includes cheese, chocolate, chili, chicken pot pie and eggs.
8. Criticism can hurt. Whether you are on the giving end or the receiving end, know that often in life there is no right or wrong way of doing things. Unless someone asks for criticism, or you politely ask if they would like your help improving, do not criticize others. And DEFINITELY do not do it behind their back, or you will leave a trail of people wondering what you say about them when they are not around.
9. Lift others up. Recognize their strengths, praise their accomplishments. People will respect you more and good things will come to you if you lift others up instead of tearing them down.
10. Stop comparing yourself to other people. There’s only one person you should worry about being better than. That is your past self. Somewhere along the line I read a piece of advice that said “Stop comparing your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 15.” Everyone starts somewhere. You don’t know how much persistence, determination, sweat and tears went into someone else’s journey.