10 Things I Want to Teach My Kid

School

Off to school to learn stuff. But there is so much that I want to teach him that you can’t learn in school.

We are only on this earth for so long.  We only have so many opportunities to learn from life, and we learn so much from our parents, and older relatives, and those that are supposed to be smarter than us.  It’s human nature.  We learn from and emulate those that set examples for us.  Those that we love, those that we trust, those that raise us.  Sometimes we learn about the type of person that we want to be, sometimes we watch them struggle with things and resolve never to have to deal with their issues ourselves.  Either way you look at it, either way it goes, it’s still learning something.

I have a 5 year old son.  I love him to pieces.  He is the most important thing in the world to me.  People come and go in your life.  But your children come from you and they will always be yours.  You will always bear some type of responsibility where they are concerned, and it is up to us as parents to do everything we can to give them a good start.  Good values, the ability to see what is right from what is wrong, and to be able to prioritize things in life so we don’t let trivial things get in the way of what is truly important.  We need to give them the tools to have good relationships, to treat people with respect and dignity, and to grow up to be aware individuals that will contribute in a meaningful way to society.

In order to do this, we need to teach them things.  By example and by just plain telling them and showing them how.  If I leave this world tomorrow if I get hit by a bus, or 50 years from now from natural causes (what I’m hoping for) or anything in between, there are things that I want to teach my kid before I go.  Lessons that I want him to learn from me, and from my example.

The top 10 things, in no particular order are:

1. Take risks.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  If someone gives you an opportunity to do something, don’t stand back shaking your head because you’re scared.  Take the plunge and do things that are out of your comfort zone.  You’ll have a lot more regrets in life because of the things you didn’t do because you were scared than the things you did do.

2. Be responsible.  This ties in closely with taking risks.  Every little thing you do has an impact.  It impacts your life and the lives of those around you.  Always think about how your actions may reflect on others.  Think twice before you speak.  If it looks negative, think twice about it and tread very carefully.  Rely on your basic knowledge of right and wrong (which hopefully I will have taught you) when making decisions.  When you take the risks above, always be responsible and safe, never putting a whim ahead of your own safety or that of others.

3. Believe in something.  I’m raising you in the Catholic faith, as I was raised and your father  was as well.  I have you in Catholic school, take you to church, and pray with you every night.  This is my gift to you.  As you get older, your beliefs may change.  You may take different paths, begin believing in different things.  You may meet a girl (or boy – who knows?) that shows you a different way of life, a different type of faith, and that’s okay.  As long as you have something to believe in, somewhere to go, someone to pray to, a community to support you.  A good, solid belief system and set of values to live your life by, that teaches you to treat others as you want to be treated.

4. Look after yourself.  There may come a time in life where you may be alone.  You may move away from your family for a job or school, you may just live on your own sometime, doing your thing.  Know how to look after yourself.  Learn how to cook, how to do laundry (including how to properly fold a fitted sheet).  Learn how to properly clean a bathroom and remember to change your sheets once a week.  These are all important things that some people, men in particular (sorry guys, but it’s true!) never learn to do.  They wait for others to do it for them.  They eat out 4 days a week and survive on ramen noodles and Kraft Dinner the other days.  Learn to do things for yourself and you’ll never have to rely on others.

5. It’s okay to ask for and accept help.  This ties in with the above point.  While you should know how to look after yourself, it’s absolutely okay to ask for and accept help sometimes.  Sometimes you just can’t do it all alone.  Sometimes you just don’t want to do it all alone.  It’s okay to let someone you trust in to share the burdens life brings, both mental and physical.  There is no shame in it.  And chances are, those that love you will be more than happy to help if you only ask.

6. Never lose sight of who you are.  You will meet people in life that want you to change.  You know what?  Sometimes that’s okay.  Sometimes a change of behaviour is needed.  You’re not always right about everything.  There may be a better way of doing things.  But if someone asks you or tries to make you become someone you are not, or do something that goes directly against what you believe in, don’t be afraid to put on the brakes.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and who you are and say – “I am who I am.  If you don’t love me for it, then love me in spite of it.  But don’t try to change the essence of me, because I’m worth being me.”  Healthy relationships are wonderful, but never let someone else define who you are.

7. Money isn’t everything.  We’ve all heard it before, and we’ve all rolled our eyes at it.  Sure, money doesn’t fix your problems but it sure helps to make life easier.  Which is true.  I’ve gone through financial difficulties, and I will admit – life is a lot easier to plan when you don’t have to worry so much about where your next dollar is coming from.  It’s important to plan for your future.  It’s important to be responsible enough to make sure your bills are paid and you’re saving for retirement.  But it’s also important to live life.  Treat yourself to indulgences every now and then if you can.  Have fun.  Do things.  Don’t wait until you’re 65 and filthy rich to start living life.  Live it every day and don’t have regrets.

8. Stay in school.  Education is everything.  It gives you opportunities, it opens doors.  Even when things get hard, find a way.  Finish.  If the opportunity is there, learn more.  Always keep your mind open to learning new things.  Read, read, read.  Read anything you can get your hands on.  Books, magazines, online or in print.  Worlds can be opened to you by reading, and it’s often free.  Always remain a student – in the classroom or in life.

9. Work hard and give your best in everything you do.  If you can look back and say “I did my absolute best” you will never regret not trying hard enough.  When you work hard, people see it and you go can places because of it.  Your work ethic and reputation will precede you wherever you go.  Work hard and live up to it.

10. Love DOES conquer all.  Love people.  Allow yourself to be loved.  A safe, healthy, loving relationship is one of life’s greatest gifts.  Don’t shut yourself off from those who love you, no matter how easy it may be to do so.  Sometimes love is hard.  Sometimes it’s about loving someone so much that you realize that you need to let them go in order for you both to be happy – because together it just doesn’t work.  Don’t be afraid or shy to show your love.  Love your friends, and tell them you love them.  If someday you are blessed with children, make sure they know every night when they rest their head on their pillow that they are the most precious thing in the world to you.  Give love freely, and accept it freely…….especially from your mother.  😉

Just 10.  There are so many more.  And so many more that he has taught me or reminded me of in his five years.  Maybe that will be what my next post is about.

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It’s Hot People! Take your kids out of the car!

hot-sunIt boggles my mind how many reports I have seen of people leaving their kids (and animals for that matter) in their cars in this hot weather we’re having.

With all the media attention this has been getting, I am amazed that people would leave a child unattended in a car at all, for any length of time, let alone in this intense heat.  Children are dying.  Isn’t that enough to say:  “wake up sweetie, you’re coming in the store with me.”

I came across this video in my facebook feed.  I know it’s a simulation, but it brought me to tears.  It brought me to tears because this kind of thing is happening all the time!  Children are being injured, and dying all the time, and it is absolutely 100% preventable.

Please – take a few minutes and watch this video.  Please – understand that this could happen to you.  With all the abductions happening, it is unsafe to leave a child alone in any weather.  Please be responsible, please, please – do what you’re supposed to do.  You have had this child, or you are responsible for this child.  Do what you need to do to protect it.  Please.  And if you happen to be walking past a vehicle with an unattended child in it – get help.  Those few minutes could end up saving a life.

 

I Guess You Can’t Make Everyone Happy

Sad, but true.

Overall, I aim to please.  I am definitely a “yes person.”  To a fault usually.  People are always telling me – “you have to learn to say no!”  I’m not very good at it though.

So it’s hard when people criticize you when you’re always trying so hard to help them, and to be the best person you can be.  It’s easy to get your feelings hurt when you’ve tried so hard, and done so much, only to have someone look past all of that to what you DIDN’T do, and point that out.  It really takes the wind out of your sails and can be very discouraging.

What we need to realize I think is that some people are born criticizers.  Some are born complainers.  Some are born with a negative attitude and will die that way.  And some, unfortunately for us, are all of the above.

So the question is – why in the hell do we keep trying to please these people?  What’s wrong with being who you are, doing the best you can do?  Those who love you and appreciate you will continue to love and appreciate you.  Those who don’t, can lump it.

So going into the weekend, have a good one, have fun, and be the best you can be.  Not for all those Bitter Bettys and Negative Nancys, be your best – for you, and those that are worth the effort.

Peace.

Letting Go

The quote on the left is something I saw on Facebook yesterday, and it has stuck with me since.

I am fortunate enough to have many friends.  Quite a few of them I have known for years and years.  My oldest and dearest friend and I have been sidekicks since we were 5 years old.  That’s almost 30 years!  Many of my friends that I still keep in touch with I met in high school.  I also have friends that Joe and I have met as a couple and enjoy hanging out with.  I never really made friends at work as I was the only female my age in the office for many many years, but in the last few years I have been lucky enough to form a friendship with a co-worker that I really cherish, which has made the day to day of my life much more interesting and fun.

I can honestly say that I haven’t lost a lot of friends.  Sometimes people just grow apart, and that’s okay.  Life takes people in different directions, and just because you aren’t really good friends anymore doesn’t mean you don’t care about someone or love them just the same.  But deep down it bothers me when there is someone that is in your life, and then they are gone.  Someone whose friendship you valued, and then they are non-existent.

This can also apply to relationships.  I’m happily married for almost 10 years now, and haven’t had to deal with other relationships for a very long time, but there have been times in my life when things went sour and I spent way too long trying to figure out why.  Trying to figure out what it was that I did that made things go wrong.

When you’re in the mindframe that accompanies a lost relationship, whether it is a friendship or a mate, you don’t always want to hear the advice that tells you to move on, to leave them behind, and to let go.  But something really resonated with me yesterday when I read that caption, and really made things click into place in a lot of ways.  From as far back as my teenage years, all the unsolved mysteries of my life, and the lost friendships and relationships (not that there were many), seemed okay all of a sudden.  Reading that and putting things into perspective that way, helped me I guess to close the book on a few loose ends that perhaps were never meant to be tied up.

I like to believe that everything happens for a reason.  That God has a plan for all of us.  But this has made me think that sometimes He does reach in and take people and things away from us because we aren’t strong enough to do it ourselves.  As human beings we tend to be gluttons for punishment and chase after the things that hurt us the most.  So the decision is made for us, yet we still do what we can to try to reverse it.  To make things better, to set things right.

What we need to realize is – perhaps things have been set right.  We just need to leave it alone and let go.

Keeping Cool

Whew!

Woah.  It’s a hot one out there.  It’s been a hot week actually.  It’s the humidity that does it.  There is a heaviness in the air that seems to hit you and take your breath away as soon as you step outside.

Summer is here folks – I’m not one to complain about the weather (too much) but it’s here and we might as well enjoy it.

Please stay safe, keep up on heat advisories, and employ these simple practices in your day to day life when its so hot out:

– Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  Drink plenty of water.  Not just water, look for beverages that have electrolytes.

– Keep your blinds and windows closed during the day.

– Turn off the lights in your home when they’re not needed.

– If you’re outdoors, try to stick to the shade and avoid too much direct sunlight.

– Wear a hat outdoors, but remove it when you go indoors, this will allow your body to cool off quicker.

– Use those fans!  They help to circulate the air, which can be enough sometimes.  If it’s a ceiling fan, make sure it is turning in the right direction for cooling.  You can place a bowl of ice or something frozen in front of the fan to boost the cooling up a notch.

– Minimize the use of your stove and oven.  Cook outside when you can, or use a crock pot!  I know people often associate a crock pot with winter cooking, but you can make some really great meals, all while not heating up your house at all.

– If you have to be outside, and tend to exercise outside, try to limit your activities to early morning or late at night, when the sun isn’t so strong and the humidity isn’t as unbearable.  This includes activities such as grass cutting and gardening as well.  Don’t forget to drink during your activities.  Especially then.

– Mint.  Eat it, look for mint in lotions, etc.  It has cooling properties that will help cool the body down.

– Avoid alcohol when outside in the heat.  I know this sucks, but it dehydrates you.

– Get soaked.  Be it in a swimming pool if you’re lucky enough to have access to one,  a local splash pad, or just a sprinkler or kiddie pool in your backyard.  It’s amazing how a bit of cool water can lower your body temperature to something much more manageable.

There are many other ways to keep cool, the internet is full of them.  If you have to, go to the mall or your local library to cool off.  But please, if you think you are having heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately.

Some of these (okay, most of these) are so obvious, but it’s so easy to forget the basics sometimes.

Enjoy the heat, but try to stay cool too.

Counting our Blessings

There are lots of things that suck in life.  We have all kinds of problems that we have to deal with on a daily basis.  Sometimes we just don’t have enough money to stretch to cover those bills in a month.  Sometimes we have just enough for the bills, but groceries?? No way.

We had a rough year when I was on maternity leave.  Living on one and a half incomes is tough.  After I went back to work, we decided it was time for Joe to go back to school to make something of himself.  We had barely caught our breath financially, and all of a sudden he was a full time student and we were back to one and a half incomes again.

Times were tough.  We did the things that many people do to get by, roll change to buy food, thaw out and eat chicken skewers and pigs in blankets found in the bottom of the deep freeze.  As long as our kid was fed, clothed, warm, and happy, we didn’t care too much.  Though it was pretty stressful at times.

We still have those months where things get tight.  A dollar just doesn’t go as far as a dollar used to.

It’s so easy in life to feel sorry for ourselves.  I mean, of course, we’re the worst off out of everyone we know…right?  Well, maybe not.  Being sorry for yourself doesn’t take any effort.  It’s an easy pattern to slip into and a hard one to get out of if things continuously keep screwing up.

It’s easy for me as I sit there, miserable at the kitchen table, looking across at my equally miserable husband, as we both eye  the last pig in a blanket, being courteous to each other by saying “no, you take it!” meanwhile ready to fight to the death over it-  to feel sorry for myself.  And I do.  But then I try to take stock of my life and count my blessings.

I look down on the kitchen floor, and in his exersaucer at the time, was my little guy, smiling up at me with a tooth or two in his mouth.  Healthy and thriving.  I look across at my miserable meat and potatoes husband, and thank my lucky stars that if I have to be in this with anybody, it’s him.

Even as things even out a bit, as I said, there are still months when things get tight.  An unexpected car or house repair has to be made.  A ton of Birthday parties to go to in one month, and something to take to each one.  Having to go here or there or everywhere, with gas prices going through the roof.  It takes a bit of juggling sometimes to be able to handle everything and still be able to have an extra or two here or there.  To be able to go out to dinner together or see a movie.  To buy a paperback (or six) that I’ve been wanting.  Sometimes it’s very frustrating.  We lie in bed and talk about things and what needs to be paid.

It’s times like this where it is very important to be aware of your blessings and be thankful for each one.  I think of the little boy sleeping in the room across the hall.  He is happy, and healthy.  I look at the man there in the bed being frustrated with me.  He’s my best friend.  He also works hard and does everything he can to support his family.  He’s healthy and is able to work.  I have a healthy and supportive family.  My parents are well, and are so supportive of us and so willing to help however they can.

We all have our things in life to deal with.  I remember when I was little and sitting in church, the priest was saying his homily.  I have heard a very large number of homilies in my lifetime, and though I’m sure there was a message in each one, this one has stayed with me throughout my life since.  It was basically a story about how we all have to carry crosses in life.  One man went to God and begged him to be relieved of his cross.  God agreed, saying that he could throw his cross into a pile with all the other crosses in the world and pick out another one to carry.  After throwing his cross onto the pile, he started trying to look for one that he would rather carry.  To make a long story short, after examining all the other crosses that others were carrying, he decided to pick up his own cross and carry it again.

Moral of the story:  no matter how bad you think you’ve got it, there’s always someone that has got it worse.  Is your kid driving you crazy because he is running around the house when all you want to do is relax for a minute after work?  At least he has the energy and is able to run.  Is your spouse driving you crazy because….well, there are tons of reasons why they could be driving you crazy.  Ask the person who just lost their spouse to an accident or illness what they would give to have that person there to drive them crazy again.  Is your boss a pain in the butt?  Think about the unemployment rate.   Worried about living on one and a half incomes? What about just one?  Or just half?

So I guess that’s it.  Find your blessings.  They are there.  Count them and cherish them.  Even when it seems like there are none, there are some.  Sometimes they are in disguise, but they are there.  Don’t take them for granted.

Peace.