25 things I want to teach our daughter.
1. Stand up for yourself. Never let anyone tell you who YOU are or what YOU believe. God (with a little help from Mommy and Daddy) has given you the great capability to form your own opinions, and your own set of values and beliefs. This is the greatest gift imaginable.
2. Know that you can ALWAYS come to Daddy and me with anything. There is NOTHING you can’t ask or tell us. We won’t judge you, and will always protect you. We will give you the best advice possible. Never be afraid to talk to us, we love you unconditionally.
3. Don’t be quick to judge. As human beings, we tend to form opinions based on little information. Know that there is always more than meets the eye. Use that beautiful mind of yours, and dig a little deeper.
4. If you lose your family, you lose everything. This is something my Mommy has always told me. There is NOTHING you can do that will EVER make us stop loving you, but you must be willing to love back. You have an INCREDIBLE set of families backing you up, little one. You will come to know that this is your greatest blessing.
5. Form your own opinions on religion and spirituality. We will raise you to know that there is a loving, all powerful God. How else could Mommy and Daddy have survived on April 27th 2011? How else could you have come into our lives? You will find that organized religions don’t provide the answers for everything. Spirituality is not all black and white, nor can all the answers be found in one place. It’s up to you to decide what you will and won’t believe, just know there is something up there watching over us.
6. Education is powerful, but not everything can be learned from a book. We are going to fill your life with as many adventures as we possibly can, teaching you tons of stuff along the way. You will find that days where you are all by yourself, discovering your world through your own eyes, will teach you more than you ever thought possible.
7. Don’t be afraid to scream your opinions from a rooftop, but don’t be afraid to remain silent. Sometimes it’s best to say nothing.
8. Ask questions when you have them. Ask for help when you need it. Never be afraid to admit when you don’t understand something. Don’t be half-sure. KNOW!
9. BE SILLY! LAUGH! LOVE LIFE AND ALL THE PEOPLE IN IT! Don’t take yourself too seriously, baby. If you make a mistake, own it! If you fall down, laugh at yourself…but always have the courage to get back up!
10. Don’t live in the past. Mommy forgets this sometimes. It’s easy to dwell on things that have happened, bad and good. If you spend too much time on what’s already happened, you’re gonna miss what’s coming up!
11. We will argue. We will fuss. We will fight. This doesn’t mean we don’t love you. Life does not come with a set of instructions. There are going to be times when you can’t stand your father and me, and you’ll think we’re ruining your life. Your grandmother and I went through this more times than I can count. We will never do anything or say anything that isn’t for your own good. You are our daughter, little one. Above all else, we will love and protect you.
12. Be quick to love and slow to hate. Thousands of people are going to come in and out of your life. Some will change your life, some you won’t remember the next day. Treat everyone with the kindness and respect they deserve, but guard your heart and your body with a steady mind. These are the only ones you will be given.
13. You will understand the value of hard work. Your father and I want to give you everything under the moon, and then some. However, we will not raise you to be a brat. You will work for the things you are given, and you will appreciate them. Of course, there will be surprises along the way, but we will make sure you are a hard worker.
14. A true friend will never turn their back on you. They will never judge you and never walk away when you are in need. You will have a lot of friends come in your life. Have the courage to know which ones are worth your time.
15. Food is not a reward, it is a necessity. You do not live to eat, you eat to live. We will never use food as a reward system for you. We want to raise you in a healthy environment, and spend time together as an active family. This means family walks, hikes, bike rides, and tons of other fun stuff. We will have friendly competition. Loser takes out the trash.
16. Be passionate about something! Be it sports, music, art, whatever! Pick something and love it with your whole heart. We will support that love to the fullest!
17. Be proud, but not prideful. Own who you are, but don’t push yourself onto others.
18. Just keep smiling. Even when times are at their worst, smile. It will make your haters hate you even more, but that just means you are doing something right. You will be surprised how much this simple gesture can make your light shine a little brighter.
19. Pretend. Make believe. Create, imagine, dream, and do. Don’t be afraid to be your own best friend.
20. In the words of Katt Williams (who you won’t know anything about until you are much, much older), YOU NEED HATERS. When people are hating you, it means you are doing something right! Don’t delight in their childish antics, but take their criticism as praise. If they are willing to take time out of their day to worry about what you are doing, just keep on doing it!
21. Please, please don’t take middle school or high school too seriously. I know, at the time, it will be the only thing you know to do. I promise nothing that happens in the day to day will matter much in the long run. Have fun, make friends, and be yourself. Just…don’t take it too seriously.
22. Don’t be afraid to be great! Never let the actions of others around you, be it your friends, family or otherwise, influence you to be any way but awesome. There is nothing wrong with achieving.
23. Never say anything behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t be willing to say to their face. Don’t lie about someone or something someone did to make them look worse, or make you look better. Chances are, if you are doing what you know is right, you’ll be fine. If they are doing something to make them look bad, trust me, no one needs you to point it out.
24. Never do something just because someone else wants you to do it. If you don’t want to do something, don’t EVER be afraid to say no. Stick to your convictions! If you lose a friend over it, then they weren’t a real friend to begin with.
25. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Inside and out, my darling daughter, you are a ray of sunshine. I haven’t officially met you yet, but I know how special you are. How could you not be? Just look at your Daddy and me. WE LOVE YOU!