My sons are adults. They are wonderful, smart, successful adults and I adore them. They have their own lives and thankfully still include us in their lives. I do wonder sometimes, however, how much we should still be trying to influence their lives. Do they want our advice? Do my “suggestions” sound like a nagging mom? Should we share our experiences or let them make their own mistakes? Hopefully we are doing a little of each—it’s tough to avoid either. So I decided I would write a few things that I want to tell my children—great advice they need to hear. So listen up, guys . . .
1. Be kind. It doesn’t take money. It doesn’t take time. There’s usually a choice—be kind, ignore the person/situation or be mean. Don’t ever be mean, karma will come back to bite you tenfold. Sometimes you can ignore without being mean. Mostly, just be kind. It’s the right thing to do.
2. Overdress. If you think you need to dress up, then dress up. It’s always better to overdress for a situation than show up looking like a bum. (Don’t be smart, I’m not talking about a tux.)
3. Don’t settle. I really don’t see millennials settling for things that don’t make them happy and I’m all for that—most of the time. If you hate your job, get another one. If you don’t like where you live, move. You’re not a tree.
4. Save some money. Pay yourself first and put it away. Don’t get through the month and then put away whatever you might have left. You may not have anything left. Put it away first. Added simple pleasure: it adds up quickly.
5. Never fill out your recipient’s email address on your email until you’re ready to send. Do you know how many emails get sent accidentally? Well, me neither, but it’s a lot. Don’t be one of them. It could have really disastrous results.
6. Make your bed. Nah, I’m kidding. I seriously don’t care if you make your bed or not. I think it’s a good thing so your bedroom looks neat and you start your day accomplishing something but really who cares? Just make sure to wash those sheets once in a while. That’s much more important. Especially your pillowcases. Think about it. Ewww.
7. My simple rule of “the more you . . . “ You know, the more vegetables you eat, the more vegetables you will eat. It’s all about good habits. The more you practice your good habits, the more they become your good habits. (Unfortunately this can apply to bad habits too so watch yourself . . . repeating a bad habit can make it seem OK.)
8. Practice mindfulness. This is pretty much the key to everything. Be mindful of your decisions and actions. Don’t get crazy with impulsive or spur-of-the moment decisions. A little spontaneity is good. It’s fun. Rushing into important decisions, not so much.
9. Love your siblings. Even when you don’t always like them. When it comes to the end of the day, they are the ones who are there for you. You are lucky enough to have some true friends, but it still doesn’t compare to the unconditional love of family. Do this until the day you leave this Earth or I will make sure to haunt you forever. ‘Nuff said.
10. Know that your parents love you with their entire hearts and souls. You probably won’t really understand this until you have children of your own. Even then it may seem incredible. After all, we didn’t let you do a lot of things you wanted to do and we weren’t always nice or fun. Sometimes we still aren’t that nice or fun. Who knew that would be one of the tough parts of loving you?
I know I said 10 things . . . but I’m your mother and I have something else to add (and you’re lucky it’s not more than 11).
11. Pay off your credit card every week. Pick a time—maybe it’s Friday at lunchtime—and pay off the balance. The smaller balance isn’t as intimidating and it may even help you to budget your spending. So what if the credit card company gets your money early? You will never have a late payment fee and you aren’t earning anything on it anyway. Do this and you will never have a credit card problem.
Eventually, hopefully long and far away, we will get old (no, we are not old now!) and need to hear advice and reminders from you. You may wonder how much you should try to influence our lives. Sound familiar? You may think this is one of the toughest parts of loving us.
I already know that the toughest part of loving you will be one day leaving you. Until then, I plan on giving you advice and subtle reminders. (Maybe a few not-so-subtle reminders, too.) Your turn will come. And when it does, refer to #1.