With all the drama this year (Chick-Fil-A, the Election, the child kidnappings and unspeakable murders, etc.) it has me thinking about my oldest child going out in the real world next year when he starts Kindergarten. And then my other two will follow shortly behind. It’s more than a bit terrifying for a Momma to let go. There are a lot of things I want them to know over the school years and for life in general…
My sweet Gavin, Chloé, and Quinn,
I wish I could protect you from everything in life that isn’t beautiful. But the truth is, what you see in the world won’t always be pretty. In fact, there is an awful lot of ugliness in this world. But because of that ugliness, we can appreciate the good and the beauty in the world. Don’t let negativity dis-hearten you. Be positive.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Be kind to people. Say please and thank you. Use the check-out clerk’s name at the store. Look him or her in the eye and smile and sincerely wish them a good day (even and especially if they aren’t a ray of sunshine themselves).
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” – Goethe
In fact, just smile at random people. Even if they look at you funny. And many of them will.
“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” -Mother Teresa
Know what you believe in and be proud of it. What’s right isn’t usually popular. Believe in it anyway.
“Don’t let your parents down. They brought you up . Be humble enough to obey. You may gives orders someday. Choose companions with care. You become what they are. Guard your thoughts. What you think, you are. Choose only a date who would make a good mate. Be master of your habits or they will master you. Don’t be a show off when you drive. Drive with safety and arrive. Don’t let the crowd pressure you. Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” -The Teen Creed
Learn to stand up for yourself. But learn to disagree respectfully. Learn how and when to say “No”. Be friends with people who don’t agree with you. You can love someone even when you don’t like their choices. It will make you a more well-rounded person. But be careful who you surround yourselves with. Keep good company.
“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” -Epictetus
People won’t always be nice but try to remember that “bullies” often probably don’t have a lot of love in their lives like you do. I remember a time in Jr. High when I cried every single day over having to go to school when I just didn’t seem to fit in. Your Grandpa (my Dad, who passed away from cancer in 2004) gave me this letter and I still pull it out and read it when people are unkind to me.
Forgive the pic quality. This is probably 15+ years old. If you click on it, you’ll get a larger version that’s easier to read.
Tragedies may happen and people will break your heart from time to time. But learn to embrace life’s heartaches, they will make you a more beautiful person…
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Be proud of being a military brat. Be proud of your Daddy. I won’t always be easy but it’s a special thing to experience more of the world than most people, moving around like we do.
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” -John Stewart Mill
There may be times over the next decade or two when you won’t like us. Which will mean we’re doing our job well. We love you so much that we won’t always give you your way. We’ll expect you to work hard for things and earn them. We want you to be independent and capable of making smart choices when we’re not with you. You mean the world to us.
Know and take comfort in the fact that no matter what this life may hold, God is, always has been, and always will be, in control.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11.
With all the love a heart can hold,
This is the beautiful song that the lyrics from my Dad’s letter came from: