I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, I’ve always had this nagging fear of dying young (a bit morbid I know…sorry). Cole and I have lost a lot of friends to accidents and illnesses over the past few years, it made me realize how many things I need to teach my kids while I still have the chance – just in case.
Since they are not old enough to understand a lot of these things, I decided I’d write out a list that I can give to them at a more appropriate time… and since I have a habit of over-sharing on my blog, I decided I would give you a copy as well. Maybe some of these lessons will be important to you too? I know I will probably be adding a lot more points to the list in the coming years as I get older and wiser.
Mikayla and Knox, I love you two with all my heart… Here are the things I want to teach you before you are all grown up… Please take them to heart and cherish them, all I want is to raise you right.
1. Always say please and thank you – good manners are important.
2. Chew like you have a secret… You know how it drives me crazy when people chew with their mouths open.
3. Always stay classy.
4. Money cannot buy style.
5. Mikayla, always match your shoes and handbag – please babe…
6. Leggings are not pants!!! If you wear leggings, please wear a top that covers your bum.
7. Modesty is not overrated, a little mystery never hurt anyone.
8. Be intelligent, but don’t be a know-it-all – there is a difference.
9. Always stay loyal and keep your promises.
10. Think before you speak.
11. Hold your head high, not your nose.
12. “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
13. Don’t stress the could haves, if it should have, it would have.
14. Always know that I believe in you – you should too.
15. You are absolutely and undeniably unique. You are one of a kind, and there is no one like you in the world. BE YOURSELF. It will draw people to you for the rest of your life.
16. Always set goals. Even small ones and always picture yourself accomplishing them.
17. Never leave the house without looking like the best version of yourself.
18. Be selective and careful about who you trust.
19. Always make eye contact when talking to someone.
20. Be confident, if you aren’t – fake it until you make it.
21. Lists are your friend – make them, and enjoy the glorious feeling of crossing off an item.
22. You are the master of your fate. You are the captain of your soul.
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
23. Surround yourself with people who build you up, with people who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.
24. Marry someone who is fun to be around and makes you laugh.
25. You are the creation of two people’s eternal love for each other. No one has loved anyone more than I love your dad.
26. Pay your bills on time and never get into debt. Cash is king.
27. Your life has a reason, and you have a great work to do. Look for opportunities around you to make a difference.
28. Get to know yourself. And LOVE yourself. But remember, it’s not always about YOU. Think of others, and be there to lift them up.
29. Mikayla – Girls can use power tools too!
30. If you’re bored, organize your closet.
31. It never hurts to ask.
32. Most of the things you worry about never happen – take it from a world class worrier.
33. Don’t live in the past. You can’t drive forward if you’re stuck looking in a rear view mirror. You will keep crashing. Look FORWARD, and occasionally glance back to keep things in check.
34. Don’t wait for things to happen. Make them happen.
35. Always fight for what matters.
36. Be brave enough to try new foods at least once.
37. Always wear your invisible crown.
38. Don’t ever count on somebody else to make you happy.
39. Never play the victim. If bad things happen, it’s for a reason. We rise from the ashes. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves.
40. Girls can like Star Wars too.
41. When you get married, buy a dishwasher – it might just save your marriage.
42. When it rains, go jump in a puddle.
Dance, while you’re at it – you will never be too old for this!
46. Trust takes a long time to earn, be so careful to not break that with your friends and family.
47. Track suits are meant for the gym only!
48. Be detail oriented.
49. You’re never too busy for a long bubble bath.
50. Laugh every single day. A sense of humor is worth gold and you have the most beautiful, infectious laugh in the world.
51. Music is a language best understood by the heart.
52. Don’t believe or trust anyone who says Foo Fighters are lame.
53. Hard work will get you further than anything in life.
54. Mistakes can always be fixed, stay calm and learn from them.
55. If you want something done properly – do it yourself.
56. Your dad works so hard to support our family. He loves me and the two of you so much. He makes time to laugh and have fun with us every single day. He is kind and patient. I don’t know how he does it, but Mikayla – make sure you find someone like him to marry and Knox – make sure your sister settles for nothing less.
57. Always be kind to animals – be their voice, they can’t speak up for themselves.
58. Friends will make or break you. Seek out good friends. Be the kind of friend you wish you had.
59. Beauty truly comes from the inside. Believe that. The media lies. Don’t compare yourself or your looks. Comparison is the thief of joy. You ARE beautiful.
60. Nothing you do can make me stop loving you.
61. Everything is always okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.
62. Worrying about what others think of you will poison your heart.
63. Food is not your enemy. Don’t attach feelings of guilt, shame, or fear to the thing that should nourish your body. Choose good foods often as you can and enjoy the treats. Just eat good food and worry about more important things in your life.
64. Question everything, yes – everything.
65. Mikayla – don’t use light blue eyeshadow, it looks terrible in photo’s.
66. Mikayla – always remember the golden rule: Light eye make-up = bold lips, bold eye make-up = light lips.
67. The recipe for success is having vision, taking action and being patient.
68. Travel before settling down. Once you settle down, travel with your spouse or partner before starting a family.
69. Learn when to lead and when to follow. Lead with love, passion, and a whole lot of wisdom. Follow with your heart and gut.
70. Remember that you are enough, just the way you are.
71. When you are all grown up and out in the big bad world – please come home often. Call me at least once a week and talk to me about anything and everything.
72. Follow your dreams – Eleanor Roosevelt once said “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”, so dream – dream big, and never stop dreaming. You can achieve anything if only you can envision and want it.
73. Always stick up for each other. While friends will come and go in your life, your siblings are the ones who will always be there no matter what you do. They are the ones you will be the meanest to over the years, the ones you will take for granted – but they will always be the ones still standing beside you when you feel like there is no one else and the whole world is against you.
74. Always remember that there is nothing more important than family. Your family were the first ones to race to the hospital to meet you when you were born. They cried tears of happiness when they held you for the first time. They have watched you grow – played with you as a child, taken the time to go to events that were important to you, held you when you were sick, made fun memories with you as you grew up, always loving you and wanting you to only be happy. When you go through those teenage years and you don’t want to take the time to sit at home with your parents, hang out with your aunts and uncles or go spend an afternoon at your grandparents – remember when I tell you that someday, you would trade everything you have for just a few moments more with those same people. While you are going through these years, and finding your way in the world, these are the people who will be sitting back and wishing only the best things for you, always loving you even while you make mistakes. Your family are the ones who have always had your back no matter what. They have loved you without condition. They are also the ones who you will, someday, wish with every fiber of your being, that you could have just one more minute with.
75. Take responsibility. If you have done something wrong, admit it and say you are sorry. Don’t be one of those people who go through life feeling like they are always the victim, and who never have to take any blame for any wrong doing.
76. Distinguish between a man/woman that flatters you and a man/woman that compliments you.
77. Know the difference between a man/woman that spends money on you and a man/woman that invests in you.
78. Always tell someone how you feel, because opportunities are lost in the blink of an eye, but regrets can last a lifetime.
79. Be sincere.
80. Give, but don’t allow yourself to be used.
81. Always listen, but don’t lose your own voice.
82. Mikayla – Never cut your own bangs! Ever!
83. Learn how to change a tyre and use jumper cables. Both of you.
84. Love your body.
85. Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.
86. You can conquer the world if you are wearing the right pair of shoes.
87. Don’t keep score in love. Keeping score is exhausting and breeds competition. Nothing about love should be competitive.
88. Rather than complain about what you don’t have, learn to be truly and sincerely grateful for what you do have.
89.Don’t rush your life. There was a time in your mommy’s life when I wanted to wish the days away just to get to the next big thing – I regret that. Enjoy every day to its fullest – even the bad days. You are exactly where you need to be. Enjoy it.
90. Value education. Never stop learning. Learn as much you can in school and in life.
91. Keep your standards high. Never settle for mediocrity.
92. Learn to keep a paper trail wherever possible.
93. Never give up. There will be days when you want to throw in the towel because life seems a little too hard. Don’t give up. Your dad and I will always be there to help guide you if you let us.
94. Live in the moment.
95. True love isn’t the way it’s portrayed in fairytales. I’m sorry, but love is work. People change, circumstances change, and it takes an evolving door of commitment and trust to make what we call Love.
96. There is always room for growth. Wisdom doesn’t just come to you, its obtained.
97. Read to your hearts content, gain wisdom from what you find. Reading is a way that your mind can take you places your body may never get to go.
98. Don’t ever cry at work. Crying is perfectly fine, but try not to cry at work (easier said, than done). If you do cry, DO NOT make a scene.
99. Never date a man or woman who is rude to waiters, or mean to animals.
100. Never try to solve problems at night. All problems seem worse at night, and everything seems like a bigger deal when you are tired. Go to sleep. The problem will probably not be as big of a deal in the morning. (If you’re tired and you’ve been drinking, you’re probably wrong anyway about whatever it is that you’re saying/arguing about – so again, just go to sleep, and deal with it in the morning!).
101. Learn how to laugh at yourself.
You’re going to look like an ass at some point(s) in your life. You will look like less of an ass if you’re able to laugh at yourself about whatever it is that you did.
102. If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, then when are you going to have time to do it over?
103. Remember what your ‘oupa’ (grandfather) always saiz – “meng jou met die semels, dan vreet die varke jou.” If you mix yourself with pig food, the pigs will eventually eat you. You are as good as the company you keep.
104. Never reply when you are angry.
105. Never make a promise when you are happy.
106. Never make a decision when you are sad.
107. Knox, the kitchen is not just for girls – follow your dad’s example.
108. Have a firm handshake, it shows confidence.
109. Always wear sunscreen – trust me.
110. Never hit or hurt anyone unless they are an immediate threat.
111. Knox, never wear a clip on tie.
112. Never lend out anything you cannot afford to lose.
113. People remember how you make them feel. Never forget that.
114. Mikayla – if you decide you prefer women to men and Knox – if you decide you prefer men to women, your Dad and I will not care, nor will we love you any less. Just promise me you’ll take me to a gay bar. I know I’d make you proud.
115. I don’t care how young or old you are: if you’ve been drinking, call me or dad. I’ll get you and your friends home safely. Never, ever drink and drive or drive with someone who has been drinking.
116. Mikayla – When wearing pantyhose/stockings, always have a back-up pair in your purse.
117. Tattoos are permanent. Think long and hard before getting one.
118. Reduce, re-use, repurpose, recycle. Going green is not just a trend, it is a way of life we should all be adopting. You need to be aware of how you live, shop and consume.
119. Knox – a gentleman always opens / holds the door for a lady – he also opens doors for the elderly, children or anyone carrying anything.
120. Make the right choices, not the easiest ones.
121. Knox – always protect your sister.
122. Accept others for who they are.
123. No boy or girl is worth crying over, the one who is won’t make you cry.
124. Learn to say no without feeling guilty. Setting boundaries is healthy – respect and take care of yourself.
125. Mikayla – a girl should be like a butterfly, pretty to see and hard to catch.
126. Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong.
127. Society likes to put people in neat little boxes – it makes things easier, simpler. In reality, life doesn’t have such clear boundaries and you do not have to fit in a box. Do not fall for the hype and don’t be a sheep.
128. Shower daily, use deodorant, brush your teeth! Personal hygiene is extremely important!
129. Spitting in public is for hillbillies.
130. When I look at you two, I see my heart, I never imagined I had this much love to give until I had a baby. You have taught me that my heart and my capacity to to love is not fixed, it grows each and every day. I love you, I will always love you and I will always be there for you – even after I die. I will watch over you until the end of time.
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What would you add to this list?