{40 Messages for my Children – aka ‘Saw it, Loved it, Made it my Own}

(Me & my kids. Yes, there is a Mr Raanan. I invite him to write his 40 things and i'll post it here as a guest blog with a photo of him & our children.) - Photo Credit: Yehoshua Sigala.

{40 Messages for my Children – aka ‘Saw it, Loved it, Made it my Own}

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this too, but I have seen this post appearing all over my Facebook feed this week in various different permutations.

Of the ones I read, I loved some of the ideas but wanted to expand on them & found others to be a bit pointless and before I knew it, I had heaps of my own advice I wanted to add instead.

Suddenly I had a list of 40 things I wanted to tell my kids, sitting there, as a note on my phone, with no particular occasion or reason to send it to them (and a slight fear of being ridiculed by certain offspring whom I wont name & shame.) I now began to feel a little daft for having composed it. (Like the time I made our family ‘Laundry Room Rules’ and posted it to the back of the door. The laughter could be heard for months, until I finally removed it from the door.)

I sent it to my husband who said it was fabulous.

I showed it to a few close friends: one said it made her cry; another suggested printing it and putting it in our house safe, along with our will and all our important documents (lets skip that part, shall we?)

Maybe I would print it but just keep it in my handbag, in a back pocket somewhere? I thought about Yoni Jesner and his incredible writings that he carried with him everywhere he went; not to show to anyone else but just as a reminder to himself about the kind of person he wanted to be; the way he wanted to live his life.

Then it occurred to me: I’ll just leave it here. On my blog. Where I hope to share many more special thoughts and ramblings, ideas and discoveries. It’s just like having it in a safe, only not really at all..but kind of.

And now, without further ado, here are my 40 Messages for my Children:

1. Make your bed every day before you even get dressed. Making it first thing in the morning has some weird magic to it; It sets you up for a great day ahead.

2. Travel light through life. Keep only what you need. The older you get, the more sick you get of ‘stuff’ and find yourself dumping it on the curb on a Monday night. Learn the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’. It’s not all about ‘having’ and ‘stuff’. Learn to be happy with your lot.

3. Sometimes we have to step back from the people that we love in order to preserve our own hearts. If you don’t know how to decide if you need to step back – call me. I’ll help you.

4. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get yourself up off the floor when you’re done. You are mine & you don’t belong down there.

5. If you’re going to swear, at least be clever about it. If you’re going to swear in public, know your audience.

6. Seek out the people and places and pastimes that resonate with your soul. Your soul needs nourishing as much as your body does.

7. Drive as if everyone around you, on the road and on the pavement  is crazy and about to do something stupid, because they usually are. Don’t be the stupid one. Don’t drive when you are tired or have had too much  ANYTHING to drink. And NEVER let your phone or your music distract you from the road. It can always wait.

8. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

9. Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse these and don’t forget that you need to create both of these for yourself; don’t wait for someone to come along and make you happy and whole. “Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”

10. If you’re staying more than one night, unpack your bag.

11. You are kind; you are smart; you are important. Remember to tell this to those that you love too. Be kind; you really have no clue what battles people are fighting that they will most probably never tell you about. Be compassionate and have empathy in abundance.

12. Read. Learn. Consume books whenever you can. There is more to know and learn than you can even manage in 4 lifetimes. Books are magical; Harry Potter is proof of that. Ask questions, discuss ideas, learn about our history, about different cultures, different opinions and perspectives. Open your eyes to the world outside of your bubble.

13. Giving back is the new black. Find out what you can do, who needs your help, what is lacking and where. Know your strengths, your gifts and your limitations and then set about putting the wheels in motion. Giving and helping will make you feel good as an added bonus; “the door to happiness opens outwards”.

14. Practice the art of gratitude; it’s a muscle that needs to be worked. If we don’t actively seek out and point out the things that we have to be grateful for, we can convince ourselves that life is a hell of a lot worse than it really is. There is so much to be grateful for. You are very lucky for so many reasons.

15. “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!” Be very careful about lying. White lies can be kind (like answering “does my bum look big in this?”) but proper lying is a dangerous path to go down and can hurt so many, including yourself. Never lie to yourself either; It doesn’t wash and it will eat away at you until the day you stop.  Be authentic. Be you.

16. Your boundaries are up to you. Just make sure, once you set them, you let other people know what they are and that they make sense.

17. Don’t be afraid of failure and rejection. “Learn to fail or fail to learn”. Remember our favorite stories about JK Rowling and The Beatles. Imagine if they had thrown in the towel at the first sniff of rejection.

18. If you have a strong opinion about something, you’d better know why/who/when and what. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

19. Don’t let life just happen to you; don’t let it pass you by. There’s a reason why “blink and you’ll miss it” became a cliché. Realise how fast life moves. Grab opportunities, don’t procrastinate, say ‘yes’ to adventures. Be a do-er, a mover & a shaker, an influencer (not in a Kardashian way, obvs.)

20. Ask for help when you need it. The worst thing someone can say is ‘no’. You’ll be surprised how many times people say ‘yes’. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak; it makes you smart & strong.

21. Wish on stars, wish bones, birthday candles and dandelion clocks  but then get to work to make those wishes happen. Wishing and dreaming is only half the work- the rest is goal setting and hard, consistent work with passion.

22. Speak to God, in whatever form you perceive ‘Him’ to be. Be thankful to Him through good & bad times equally. This life we have, this planet we live on is miraculous and intricate and nothing is a coincidence; this world didn’t just make itself. If you ever doubt it, take a hike out into nature or a walk to the beach.

23. Look for a life partner who will put your happiness first and whose happiness you want to put first. Someone who will always make you laugh, make you feel special and loved. Someone who is honest and interesting and is interested in you and what you stand for. You don’t have to be interested in all the same things but you do need balance; to be heading down a similar path together, otherwise you will have no common ground once all the young romance and fireworks fade away. Someone who you want to go on a breakfast date with, fold laundry with, take adventures with, go supermarket shopping with; someone with whom you can imagine spending the rest of your days.

24. Anything worthwhile takes hard work; “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it”. Our world’s greatest achievers are the ones who go the extra mile, take risks, put in the hours, take very few ‘sick days’ and continue to show up with their passion, blood, sweat and tears. Be enthusiastic, be dedicated, work hard. Enjoy what you do.

25. Fall in love with things and people; be passionate about things;  particularly about ideas, art, music, literature, food and far-off places. Travel the world as much as you can while you are still young. “Travel is the only thing you can spend money on that can make you richer”.

26. Bad things happen all the time. To good people, to average people, to not so good people. Don’t ask “why me?” but just realise “why not me?”. We get through the hard times by leaning on people, by leaning on our faith, by asking for help or by just quietly being in it, know that it will pass and letting it pass. And at some point, we realise we have learned and grown from the bad. That despite all the heartbreak and ugliness and struggle, the world is still a beautiful, magical place full of good.

27. Say ‘Please’, ‘Thank You’, and ‘Sorry’, whenever the situation warrants it (loudly, with eye contact, in the person’s mother tongue language.) Reserve “I’m sorry” for when you truly are. Make sure to express: I’m sorry it happened, how can I make it better and how can I stop it from happening again.

28. Love yourself. Not in an arrogant way; in a peaceful, accepting ‘self-love’ kind of way. Because the most important person for you to love in your life, is you.

29. Naps are for grown-ups, too. There’s nothing wrong with recharging your batteries. And don’t skimp on an expensive mattresses. A good night’s sleep can make you feel like a new person.

30. Question everything except your own intuition. Trust your gut. And ask good questions. There IS such thing as a stupid question. Sorry..

31. You have enough. You are enough. You have always been enough; from the day you were born.

32.No matter where you are, no matter what happens, no matter what you did, you can always come home. My love is unconditional (but please don’t get on a motorbike..)

33. Be kind. Show your kindness. Don’t keep your feelings for people locked up. Give love, give compliments, give presents, hugs, kisses, support. The world always needs more love and kindness. Spread it around with a big, fat lightsaber.

34. Don’t ever lose the child part of you. Adults spend fortunes in therapy and coaching trying to get back in touch with their ‘inner child’. Remember what it is that you loved as a child and hold on to it tight. Don’t rush to be a ‘grown up’- it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

35. Be happy with your accomplishments, go easy on yourself and always take the time to stop and reflect on how far you have come and how much you have achieved.

36. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Integrity and honesty are two very lonely words in our world.

37. Make new friends but don’t let them replace your old friends; there’s always room in your heart and your life for new friends; as long as they are ‘keepers’. Be a good friend; remember birthdays, send cards, check in and see how they are, let them know you’re thinking of them; be a real part of their lives, even from thousands of miles away.

38. You are amazing! Don’t let anyone ever make you think you are not. If someone does…back away. You deserve better. (And give me their address. Mess with my kids? Mess with me..)

39. You are all blessed to have each other as siblings. The older you get, hopefully the more you will realise this gift that you have and the kinder you will be to each other. Keep in touch with each other and take care of one another. And always laugh together like you do now. Until it hurts.

40. You are lovable. You are unique. You are incredible. Because I said so. And like I said above, my love for you is unconditional and there are no favourites. Full stop. I love you. The End.

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