When people used to tell me to enjoy my children because time really flies by fast, I always chuckled along but boy, are they RIGHT!
Time really does go by fast and I’m finding myself giving new parents the same advice.
We’re now just days from college bound.
My daughter, my only girl, and the eldest of three children is preparing to leave the nest and entering a new chapter in her life.
It’s not as if I haven’t prepared her these past eighteen years and now I’m going to lay it all out for her to grasp during the remaining moments that we have together.
My mind has been drifting in several directions… from health tips to practical and spiritual advice.
What are some things that I really want my daughter to know?
I thought about life lessons and principles that my husband and I have instilled in her over the years and pray that they will continue to be the anchor in her life as she spreads her wings into this world.
These are just some of the things I want my daughter to know before she leaves for college:
1. You are LOVED….Unconditionally.
We’ve always taught her that God loves us unconditionally, and it’s something that we don’t have to earn our way to receiving. I want her to go away with confidence knowing that she will always be unconditionally loved by God, her father, and me.
Nothing will separate our love.
Being Loved Unconditionally is the most important thing that I want my daughter to know.
The rest of this list is not in any particular order.
2. Being a Leader…Not Always Popular.
We’ve groomed her to be a leader. Leaders are not perfect, but nevertheless, leaders have to make tough decisions and sometimes those decisions won’t make us popular.
I want my daughter to know that it’s better to be unpopular with the right conscience than to make bad decisions that will gain temporary approval, yet have greater affects in her future.
3. Listen to Your Heart.
We are living in times when there are so many things that vie for our attention. We are bombarded with options and sometimes even the good ones aren’t necessarily the best ones for us.
I want my daughter to learn to listen to her heart…where that still small voice speaks.
If there is no peace, don’t go there. I want her to learn to let peace guide her.
4. You Become What You Habitually Do.
In developing my children’s character, as a parent, helping them create the right habits in their life will only result in better character.
One of the definitions of Character is what others come to know of us, once they’ve left our presence.
My favorite quote on habit is, “First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.” ~Rob Gilbert
I want my daughter to know that her habits whether good or bad will affect her character and her character will ultimately affect her destiny.
Being from a very small school, my daughter has developed close friendships with a handful of girls, some she’s known practically since birth.
Going away to school will open up opportunities to meet new friends. Even so, with the internet and social networks, it’s so much easier to make friends today then it was back when I was her age.
The friends we had growing up, those we went to school with, or in our neighborhood, often were our life long friends.
Because my daughter has grown up in the digital age, making friends online is second nature.
I should know this, as many of my girlfriends today are from social networks that I’m a part of.
Some friendships are a lot of “air kissing” but no “substance.” What I mean by that is, there are people in our life who claim to be our friends.
They may send random texts, messages on our social networks that flatter, but their words have no action.
I want my daughter to know that REAL genuine friendships are rare and hard to find; hence, to be cautious of who she opens her heart and life to.
And let us not be the ones to blow the “air kisses” as well.
As our wise first President, George Washington once said, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”
6. Forgive. Not Once, Twice, but Many.
It’s inevitable that she will go through some sort of pain or hurt. I’m not trying to prophesy this into her life, but we live in a world that is imperfect and with people who are imperfect and will say or do things that will hurt us.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we have to be around those who have hurt us and allow them to repeat their ways; it just means releasing them so that we can be free.
I want my daughter to know that Forgiveness is one of secrets to keeping us healthy in spirit, soul, and body.
7. Don’t Compare.
I think it’s easy to get caught up in comparison at any age or stage in life.
We compare our appearance (ei: hair, weight, looks), what we’ve accomplished or didn’t accomplish.
When things aren’t going within our timing, or why we haven’t reach our goals yet, often times, we’re tempted to question, “why?”
One of my favorite fables growing up was the Tortoise and the Hare. As you may remember…the moral of the story is “slow and steady wins the race.”
I want my daughter to know that she will finish the course that is set for her life in due season and don’t get caught up in comparing her life to anyone else’s.
Remember the Tortoise and the Hare.
8. It’s OK to SAY NO Sometimes to Save Your Sanity.
To be a leader, you must first serve. This is a principle that we’ve all come to learn and live in our lives; although my serving responsibilities are nowhere at the capacity today that it was in recent years due to other endeavors.
One of the problems I had was saying NO.
What I want my daughter to know is that, you can still be a servant but it’s OK to say NO sometimes to save your sanity.
9. If the Shoes Don’t Fit, Don’t Wear It.
Oh, my daughter and I both share the same love for shoes and sometimes it’s “fashion and pain” vs. “comfort.”
But in life, as parents we’ve been careful not to put her in a mold of what we think she should do or be.
I can’t say that the temptation wasn’t there and we’ve made several suggestions but at the end of the day, we know that God has a special plan for her.
If most parents were honest, they want their sons or daughters to be doctors or lawyers. Basically, it’s gives some good bragging rights.
As she’ll be on her own the next few years and even beyond, exploring and experiencing life, there may be times when she’s tempted to be swayed in certain directions by others.
I want my daughter to know that, “If the shoes don’t fit, don’t wear it.”
10. Live Life to the Fullest.
If I were to live the average lifespan, I’ve already lived more than half of it. Of course, I’m believing to surpass that!
What I want my daughter to know is “life really is too short” and to live in alignment with what her purpose is.
I know too many people who are not experiencing “life to the fullest” because they are not pursuing their passion and purpose.
I’ve heard it said, “We spend too much time living in the ‘what if’ and need to learn to live in the ‘what is.’ ” ~Leroy Allison.
Learn to live in the “what is.”
I believe that my list of “What I want my Daughter to Know” will grow, but this is a good start as she embarks on a new journey that will begin within days.
What are some things that you want (or wanted) your kids to know before they leave (or left) for college? Please do share…