“Be” the advice
If there was one piece of advice that you could give to your child(ren) – and know for certain that they would follow it – what would that advice be?
Do you like how I added the piece about knowing for certain that they would follow it? I guess you could say I dare to dream when it comes to parenting. Nonetheless, it’s a question that received quite a few responses; each of them meaningful in their own right.
Before I share the list of responses, I feel compelled to tell you a brief story, which will hopefully change the way you view this list.
It goes without saying that given the nature of my work, it’s quite common for me to frequently share advice with my oldest daughter. Although I try to do so in a non-confrontational, inviting way, I’m sure there are times when she says to herself, “Uh oh, here goes daddy again with his leadership stuff.” One of the terms I frequently use is the idea of being a “driver” in your life. In other words, I want her to realize that she has the ability to make choices that leave her feeling empowered, not powerless.
Several months ago we were driving somewhere as a family and I was having one of those grumpy, “woe is me” mornings. I guess you could say I was pouting. My wife was attempting to ask me something and I responded with a slight moan. My daughter, who obviously heard this, immediately said to my wife, “Mom, daddy’s not being a driver in his life.”
My first thought was, “How could my five year-old daughter say this about me?” However, after a few moments of reflection, it was clear that I was not doing what I had so often advised her to do, which was to be a driver. While I may have been driving the car at that moment, I had clearly taken the passenger seat to my emotions. I was choosing to wallow in my own self-pity and was hoping that my family would participate in the pity party. Needless to say, it was a moment that I will never forget.
What was the lesson in all of this? Well, as Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” In this particular case, what I really needed was to be the change I wished to see in my daughter.
As you read this list of wonderful advice, from a group of wonderful parents I might add, please remember the importance of “being” the advice.
#1 – Stay away from girl drama. It will just get in the way of your success later in life.
#2 – It’s okay to admit you made a mistake. Many people get defensive and blame others. Admit your mistake and focus on what can be done to correct it or make sure it doesn’t happen again.
#3 – Be a leader, not a follower and understand the importance of empathy.
#4 – Be kind in all you think and do.
#5 – Its not always easy to do what’s right, but it’s always right!
#6 – The Golden Rule. If we all followed it, this world would be a pretty special place.
#7 – To try something you want to pursue and come up short is not failure. Never trying is.
#8 – Don’t follow anyone’s advice unconditionally!
#9 – A bend in the road isn’t the end unless you fail to make the turn.
#10 – Choose friends that have the same values as you.
#11 – Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and might/mind.
#12 – People will come in and out of your life all the time, and that’s okay. Be true to who you are.
#13 – Practice and be confident in faith and give unselfishly.
#14 – Follow through with a task like someone is looking at you for the first time. Best effort always!
#15 – Always have GOD in your life.
#16 – Be Kind, caring, trusting, loving and helpful despite those who will be grumpy, take advantage of you, hate you, or be selfish. Don’t let them change who you are.
#17 – Don’t have preconceived notions about people you’ve only heard of and not yet met. There is always two sides to every story.
#18 – Pause when agitated or doubtful….or, wait 72 hrs. before making a big decision.
#19 – Everyone makes mistakes, big and small, all the time. Give yourself grace when you do. Do not allow the fear of not succeeding dictate your actions or choices.
What advice would you add to this list? Please share your thoughts below.