A few things I want to share with my kids as they head back to school:

Find strength in your gifts and humility in your weaknesses.

Choose being courageous over being perfect.

Admit your mistakes. Take responsibility, apologize, and move on.

Give credit where credit is due.

Share your lunch with the kid who forgot his. Eventually, payback will be your best friend.

You aren’t supposed to know it all, and no one likes a know-it-all, anyway.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Include others.

Tattling is not productive. But, asking someone for help when needed is important. Learning the difference is hard. Keep trying.

Make kindness a verb. Because simply “not” being mean isn’t being kind.

Effort and work ethic mean something.

Be a good friend by listening more and speaking less.

If you are the smartest person in the room—find a new room.

Gossip is toxic. Don’t fall victim to participating in it.

If you see it, you own it. Never be indifferent.

Be grateful for what you have without being envious of the things that you don’t have.

Laughter at another’s expense isn’t going to bring you real joy. If someone isn’t in on the joke, it ain’t funny.

The people you surround yourself with do matter. Choose wisely.

Do not give up easily. But, also know when to throw in the towel.

Recognize when friends are not good for you.

Work hard. Play hard.

Put pen to paper.

Listen to the point of views of others. Discuss differences rather than arguing. Being right is not always right.

Never be pigeonholed by others and never do it to yourself.

Go to the library.

Sometimes fitting in is not the right fit.

Treat your teachers, cafeteria workers, custodians, principals, and office staff members with respect.

Use screens less and open books more.

Find strength in the man upstairs.

Before you worry about figuring out your WHY, accept and KNOW that you are enough.

And finally but most importantly . . . 

Be yourself because there is no one else like YOU.


Originally published on My Battle Call

Valli Vida Gideons

I am a military bride, who writes about raising kids with cochlear implants, military life, and other things from the heart. Unrelated but not irrelevant... I have a degree in journalism and wrote my first short story in second grade about a walking/talking sponge; I've been an exercise instructor since my teen years (Flashdance sweatshirts, leg warmers and vinyl records to prove it); and may have been an extra on the vintage 90's hit, Beverly Hills 90210 (proof still found on VHS tapes). I got hypothermia in my first marathon at mile 25.5, but went on to kick butt the next six times I toed the line; I use to cut hair on Melrose Ave. in another life; and I am still besties with my two closest pals from elementary school, who encouraged me to share my story. This is my journey. I hope it provides a sliver of inspiration for anyone who is entering or in the midst of a fog. Follow my journey on Facebook and my blog!