In the last year, I’ve learned that everything I give my daughter, Easton, is going to be a skill and tool for her independent life from me, not just what she needs to know to function in my house. I’ve realised that the best thing I can give my daughter is the knowledge and support that she needs to have the greatest independent life from me. With that in mind, here are the things I hope to teach her well before she’s 15:
1. Your self-worth isn’t tied to whether you win or lose. Recently, she lost a soccer game and was devastated, so I explained to her that for every win you have, you have a humongous bucket full of losses. So, instead of tying your self-worth to the outcome of the game, you need to be able to feel good about yourself based on the effort that you make. That self-esteem will help you go back to the next game with enthusiasm and joy and with fresh eyes and a new commitment to doing the best that you can do. That way she’ll always be able to go for the win even when she’s lost because she has a new spirit and a great outlook on life and a positivity that pushes her to the next day.
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2. Be kind to others no matter what. I was driving recently and somebody was honking at me and she was like, “Hey buddy!” She sounded like a New York City driver and I said, “Uh uh.” She said, “But mum, he was being mean.” And I said, “In no world and in no situation and in no way is there any appropriate time for you to speak rudely to anybody. Kindness has to reign supreme and speaking rudely or insultingly to people even if they’re being jerks is just unnecessary.” I want her to always have the gracefulness of kind words and generous spirit in turning the other cheek and not confronting people or shaming them.
3. Respect and love your body. Her body is changing, she’s growing and she says, “Oh I don’t look good in this.” She can be tough on herself. And I always tell her you have to love your body. My mum used to say, “Your body is your temple. It’s the place that you have to treat the most sacred and that means from what you put in it to how you let people deal with it to how you speak of it. There has to be an unbreakable bond between you and your body because your body is going to carry you from point A to point B for a really long time, hopefully, and that means it has to be a place that is very sacred for you.” That runs the gamut from how you feel about your body size to how you feel about your clothes to how you let people talk about your body to how you conduct yourself with your body as you grow up and get older.
4. Always strive to do better. We can’t shy away from that inner voice inside of us that says, “I didn’t work as hard as I could. I was too busy watching my iPad and I need to try better next week.” Or, “I wasn’t nice to that girl. I feel bad. You know what? Let me say I’m sorry.” Always move forward.
5. Make an effort to really connect with people. Yes, that means that you should shake hands when you meet new people and greet them politely. But it’s more than that. It’s about listening to what others have to say, acknowledging them, and seeing them as you wish to be seen by others. There is great quote that says, “People will forget what was said and what occurred, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.” Have a warm, open heart.
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