I was thinking this morning that my little girl will eventually come to know that if it’s sunny out, she’s going to need to dress warmly, and if it’s snowing she might be too warm if she really bundles herself up. I got yelled at by a Scotsman once for making the observation that it was snowing heavily so it was probably not too cold out. He told me that didn’t make any sense, but it’s something I’ve known for a long time.
And this observation got me thinking that there are a lot of things that I want to pass on to her, but I have to figure out how to best arrange it so she realizes on her own:
1) Sometimes you just have to let things be funny.
There will be a time in her life when she will get easily offended and take everything personally, but, hopefully sooner than later, she will realize that it’s not worth the time and effort of getting offended by everything. Save your energy for the things people mean to hurt you with.
2) You will forget the little things.
Joe asked me last night if it was all drama and “worst-thing-evers” when I was a teenage girl, and when I thought about it, I couldn’t actually remember much of what it was like. I remember specific things and specific people, but the emotion has mostly gone out of my high school years from what I can tell – And I haven’t even hit my 10-year reunion yet.
3) Reading is a wonderful escape
I’ve been watching a lot of television over the past few weeks as I wait for this baby to decide when her birthday will be, and as a result I have seen a lot of commercials for Christmas toys. One that caught my attention was for a product that comes with a pen that reads-a-long with the child, and claims that it teaches them to read. The voice-over in the ad claims that it brings books to life. You know what brought books to life for me? My imagination. And it doesn’t need batteries.
4) There will always be people that are happiest when they have something to complain about.
It’s not worth interfering and trying to make them feel better, they don’t really want to feel better, they want to be angry so you might as well let them. There will also always be people who get into moods where they just want to be miserable (including me, though I am generally aware that I am in that mood).
5) Critical thinking is a magical tool that too many people lack.
When I got to college they started us off by teaching a short seminar on critical thinking. As we worked through what they were talking about, I wondered why exactly they were teaching us about media literacy and using your judgement because it was something I was already able to do. It didn’t occur to me that there were people who didn’t think that way. Now I know that my critical thinking skills were a gift from my parents (as frustrating as it was for my father to ask me to back up my arguments when I was 8 years old).
6) You will be better off if you figure out how to find and judge information on your own rather than asking for help every time you face an obstacle.
It is generally accepted that I am very good at my job. I believe the main reason is that when I started doing my job, I had no idea what I was doing. I had been presented with a task list and a bunch of new tools with no one to tell me how to really use them. There is nothing I hate more than appearing stupid and I certainly didn’t want to start out my new job that way, so my reaction was first to panic and then to figure these things out on my own. As a result, I have continued to be able to figure things out on my own, and when my first try doesn’t work, I figure out a second way that might work. It has made me a stronger person, and a better employee.
7) It’s also important to know that sometimes you just have to ask the question.
When I was in high school I generally stayed silent in class because I didn’t want to ask the questions swirling around in my brain and end up looking stupid because everyone understood it except me. When I got to college, I started raising my hand and asking those questions – and not only did I not feel stupid, I learned better because of it, and I helped other people who had been wondering the same things.
8 ) You don’t have to make yourself right, you just have to find the people who think you are
I spent a lot of high school wondering what was wrong with me and what I was going to have to change about myself to attract a boy’s attention. It turns out, nothing at all. I just had to find the right boy.
It’s going to be interesting watching her grow up. There a lot of things like this that I’ve learned that I want her to know right away, but I may just have to accept that she’s going to have to go through all the same processes that I did to figure all these things out. And now I have to learn how to best point her in the right direction.
Overall, I think she’s going to have a pretty good foundation.