Sunday, August 26, 2012

Growing Up Golden

I read a post Saturday morning from a new mother. She had crafted a list of 21 things she wanted her daughter to know by the time she turned 13. I loved the idea of laying out a "mantra of parenthood," so I'm stealing the idea and putting together a list for my son.

Before I get started, I'd like to take a moment to brag on my little boy. Granted, its totally within the normal realms of motherhood to think your child is different, unique and likely to be immensely more sucessful than the rest of the little brats running around. But take it from me, my little boy is one of a kind. First and foremost, because he challenges everything I've always focused on. That friends, has always been me.

Caiden embarked on what for him was the first day of the rest of his life last Monday. Kindergarten. Ahh yes, the thrills of school cafeteria food, riding the bus and of course learning to shut your mouth and sit still. It astounds me the amount of love I can have for this little being. After insisting he walk to class all by himself, eager to shed any whispers of dependance, I watched him walk through the bright red doors and down the hall. My heart was surging with pride and fear and a whole lot of other typical first day mom-emotions. I know the next twelve years will fly by. All I hope is that when my stint as caregiver, homework helper & storybook reader ends and he is no longer content with spending Saturday nights playing endless games of Connect 4 with me, he will be the kind of man other mothers will hope end up with their daughters.

1. Combat ignorance with individuality.

Don't be afraid to color outside the lines. Embrace being different. Learn to fight for what's right, even if its the unpopular thing to do. You won't be liked by everyone and that's alright. Charm them with your remarkable individuality. Because at the end of the day, the cool kids in high school aren't when they're 25. Be your own version of perfect.

2. Be Brave.

If the thought of failure isn't looming in the back of your mind, then you haven't set your goals high enough. Challenge norms. Believe in your capabilities. When others doubt you, spite them by exceeding their expectations.

3. Stand up for the little guy.

Be kind. You never know what battles others are fighting behind the scenes. Care for stray animals, let the bug out of the jar and don't be ashamed to snuggle with the cat. Don't compensate by putting others down. Always root for the underdog.

4. Keep Smiling.

I've gotten out of a lot of trouble this way. I've also learned its helpful in making friends, getting jobs and talking your way out of a speeding ticket.

5. Charm them with humility.

There is nothing quite as charming and endearing as humility. Be a good sport. With that being said, never quit writing "thank you" notes.

6. Keep asking questions.

There is always a layer of the truth that most don't see. There is no such thing as face value. Just because it's "accepted" doesn't mean its right. Ask why. Ask why not. Never let yourself think you've done all the learning there is to do.

7. Give just to give.

Help people who've run out of gas on the side of the road. Buy the homeless guy who sleeps behind the gas station a hamburger. Extend yourself to others for no other reason other than because its the right thing to do.

8. Let love lead you.

You will get your heart broken. You will probably break a lot of hearts. Pick up the pieces and let the hope of love lead you. Don't let the bad taste of a toxic relationship make you bitter. Treat women with respect, talk to them softly and be understanding when they are crying for what seems to be absolutely no logical reason. That being said, love is not a fairytale. The good ones start out that way but in the long run, love is a work in progress.

9. Foster the funny.

Laugh at yourself. Surround yourself with people that see the humor in life. Tell knock knock jokes. I just hope that by the time you're out of the house, they've gotten better than the ones you tell now.

10. Dream big.

Do what you love and love what you do. Passion begets more passion. The cliche's like "the sky's the limit" and "believe in yourself" are the real deal. If you want it, go after it. Stay hungry. Always remember, no matter what you end up doing with your life, I will always embrace you. Your birth changed me in ways that can't be put into words. I owe every good thing I've ever done for myself to your existance. You inspire me.


1 comment:

  1. perfect, I hope you little boy grows up to be a mature and sweet little man.