WHITNEY: Passing on advice to my daughter
We pass on a lot of things to our children — our oddly shaped noses, our boisterous laughs, maybe an heirloom or two.
But when we're doing things right, we should be passing along those all-important, hard-learned life lessons, right? We're supposed to sandwich these big, bold lessons with phrases like "Listen, I'm here to tell ya," and "Now that you know, don't make the same mistake I did."
Lately, a lot of parents are doling out their advice in the form of open online letters, with titles like "15 things I want my kids to know before they leave the nest," "Five things my son will know before he begins dating," and "10 things I want my daughter to know about exercise." Seriously, I saw that last one in my feed this morning and rolled my eyes pretty hard.
Other parents, eager to prove their wisness, pick up these letters and post them on their own walls along with comments like, "Yes! Number 5 is totally right, and that's what we preach at our house. #blessed."
Me? I'm not so quick to jump on anyone else's bandwagon, because I'm a millenial and my self-identity might be impacted by having to voice my agreeance with someone else in a public forum. So here's my own list of advice to my daughter, who can't yet read but who I'm sure will one day be thankful that I've committed this to print.
1. We'll never stop loving you.
Let's start with the basics. We love you. Plain and simple, and we always will no matter what. Let this fact be a foundation as you make your way through life, especially when you're facing a decision with which you think we might not agree. We might get mad, we might trot out the perennial parental line, "We're not mad, just disappointed," but we won't stop loving you.
2. Please never stop loving yourself.
There will be a lot of outside forces that will attempt to erode the confidence you have within, and those forces will start impinging on your personal space sooner than you can imagine. Don't let them win. Always be the girl who kisses her reflection in the mirror, even if as you age the practice becomes less of an outward expression and more of a metaphor for you inner mantra. Block out them haters, honey. You're wonderful.
3. Eat right...
You're a really good eater now, and I'm smugly proud of your affection for broccoli and brown rice. You devour green smoothies and raw cherry tomatoes with gusto. See? Now I'm just bragging. But keep doing that. You will feel better if you eat right, and you won't have to pay the health consequences of ignoring fruits and vegetables when you grow up.
4. ... But don't ever turn down a home-baked cookie.
Listen, if someone bakes a bunch of cookies and, say, brings them in to your future workplace and you start to think, for any reason, that you shouldn't have one, I'm telling you that you're probably wrong. Same goes for ordering a late-night pizza with your best friends or devouring a greasy spoon diner breakfast. Life is for living after all.
5. Say yes more.
I undertook this phrase as my mantra about midway through college, and it has turned out to be a good one 99 percent of the time. There will be many times when it's very important to clearly and articulately say NO in capital letters, at the top of your lungs or with the grace and politeness, depending on what the situation demands. But say yes more often than no and you'll soon find yourself on many adventures you never expected.
6. Work hard. Go big. Hustle.
In everything you do. There will always be someone lining up to take your place if you don't assert yourself as irreplaceable (that is, in other venues that don't include my heart, of course!). Do your best, and you'll come out on top. And if you still meet set backs, refer back to number 1, 2 and 4.