Sometimes, in the noisiness that is growing up, going to school, learning stuff … I think I lose sight of the very things I think are most important. School IS important, let me preface anything I might say with that. However … it is NOT the most important thing. When I sit and think about the lessons I hope you learn and carry with you into adulthood, Spanish, math, English … none of these are really the ones I put at the top of the list. So, yes, I will harass you a bit to make sure you make it through school and graduate with your class. But the lessons below are the ones that I want you to learn and carry with you FOREVER.
These are the things I think MOST important.
- Always be kind and respectful to others. Understand that people can be hurt, by your words, by your actions, even by your facial expressions and try your best to be kind to all people and treat everyone exactly as you hope to be treated in return. Even if they don’t … treat you kindly, that is. Even if someone is cruel or unkind to you, I hope that you will find it in your heart to respond to them with patience and dignity and respect. You know me – this extends to animals as well.
- You are going to falter and have missteps in life. And you are going to fail. Pick yourself back up, brush yourself off and try again. Analyze what happened and try to find another way to do it. Then try again. And again. And again. As many times as it takes. Even with the things you don’t necessarily think are worth learning. Try anyway to at least grasp the concept of it. Sometimes just being able to do it is enough. You are proving to yourself that nothing is impossible. Some things are definitely difficult … but nothing is impossible. Not everyone becomes a great surfer … but everyone can learn how to stand on a surf board. Not everyone can become fluent in a foreign language … but everyone can learn how to ask where the toilet is and how to say please and thank you and a few other helpful phrases. The key is in the never giving up, in the searching to find a way that works for you. Just DO NOT QUIT. EVER!!
- Be open to other ideas and willing to learn other people’s ways of doing things. I promise to you, at some point in your future, there will be a boss who does things “differently” than you think they should be done. You may offer up your ideas in the most respectful way possible and that boss will STILL want it done his or her way. You need to learn how to accept that and do it their way … even if you are absolutely convinced your way is better. And you need to learn how to do it with a happy and surrendered heart. When the time comes, you will get to try your way. Maybe not there, with that boss, but somewhere else, with another boss. And some day, you might BE the boss who can’t see the logic behind an employee’s idea of doing things. Be grateful for that employee who (with a happy and surrendered heart) did it your way. (But again, be open to THEIR ideas, too … and remember what it was like to have someone over you who refused to listen.)
- Be willing to do what is expected of you, even when it sucks. Whether it is school, chores, work, cleaning up a sick child’s vomit … there will always come a day when you need to do something that just plain sucks. Do it without complaining. Do your best, hide your distaste … put your head down and get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- NEVER, ever, ever be afraid to tell people that you love them. You never know when the chance to share that information with someone will go away forever. Let people know they are important to you, and if you love them, do not be afraid to say it, and especially do not be afraid to show it.
- And finally, the most important thing I hope you learn in life … is how much I LOVE YOU. I say it a lot, I know. Probably so much that the words don’t feel as special as they actually are. I have done some pretty cool things in my life, accomplished some major things, and a whole bunch of minor things. I have lived all over and have incredible friends all over the world. But the most important and the very best thing I ever did, was have you. Even when I am frustrated about school or grades or chores or whatever … I hope you know that I am proud to be YOUR mom and that I would not trade you for all the straight-A getting kids in the world. My frustration stems from wanting the very best for you in this world and my ideas of how to make that happen not necessarily coinciding with yours. I am still learning the #3 thing above. Do not doubt, however, that you are anything less than my most favorite person on this planet. I am proud of you and I love you.
That’s it. That is the list of the things I hope you learn. The very most important things in your education. It doesn’t meant school is unimportant or that learning math, social studies, science, etc. is not important. They are. But these lessons? These are my top priorities for you because they make you a better human being. Ultimately, that is the most important thing. Not getting high scores throughout your public educational process (which would, of course, still be nice) … what I hope you learn is how to be a happy, respectful, hardworking, loving and did I say happy(?) human being.
I love you, Son. To the moon and beyond and back again … as many times as it takes.