When we launched our parent advocate program, Andi Sims was the first person to sign up.
Mom of four, consultant, ballet instructor, and blogger at Andi Answers, Andi embraces life's journey with an open mind and an open heart.
With two college-bound teens under roof and two more not far behind, she's has one eye turned to the future and one eye glued to the present.
With her permission, we've shared a reprint of a post from her blog that addresses some of those important lessons we want our kids to know or discover while on their own journey from childhood to adulthood.
5 More Things I Want My Sophomore
Daughter To Remember
A few weeks ago, my friend and fellow Disney Mom Darcie, wrote a post on her personal blog (SuchTheSpot.com) entitled, "5 Things I Want My Freshman Daughter To Remember." It was significant. It was poignant. And dare I say? It was spot on!
I was so moved and motivated by her post and the upcoming school year for my sophomore daughter (and my senior son) that I thought I would play off of her post and write my own version of what I want my teenagers to remember for this high school year and beyond.
Do yourself a big favor and make sure you read Darcie's post first, and remember that Darcie is a sweet and thoughtful mom with loving, sensitive children. To the contrary, I use reverse psychology with hints of sarcasm and facetiousness, but nevertheless, the sentiments are much the same.
- Be selfish. No one is going to take care of yourself the way you can…except Mom. However, Mom is not always going to be there. You need to learn to be a nag to yourself much the way I do for you now — eat right, get plenty of rest, exercise your body and your mind and avoid getting sick. Others will try to influence you in the very opposite direction of taking care of yourself, and you'll be the one who will suffer through those lonely consequences. Very soon, no one will tell you when to go to bed or what to eat (or what not to eat). You'll have to learn the valuable lessons of keeping you and your belongings clean and tidy and how that can affect other areas of your life. It's not always the fun or popular choice to be "selfish," but if you physically feel better, other stresses in life seem much more manageable.
- Give yourself away. You may think you're busy in high school and college, but the real busy-ness begins once you have others who depend on you such as in your career and in relationships. Start practicing the fine art of giving of yourself — your time, your talents and yes, even your money. Volunteer for things that interest you. You may never know who you will meet or those things and events which may change your life. Plus, the rewards of volunteering comes back to you one hundred fold. You appreciate what you have more, and you realize you can do with less.
- Take chances. Step outside your comfort zone sometimes. Befriend those who seem friendless. Ask questions of your teacher and greet others as you walk down the hall. And if you go to a dance, for goodness sakes…dance! Don't sit in the corner. Participate in life. I'm always reminded of the Lee Ann Womack song, "I Hope You Dance," when I think of what I want most for my children. Remember that love is always worth the risk.
- Practice aggression and ambition. Don't just sit back and think that everything is going to be handed to you. You're going to need to get out there and not only affect change for yourself but for others sometimes, too. I always expect you to respect others — especially authority — as you try to achieve your goals and strategies. Yet, contrary to what you now believe, other people really aren't focused on you and what you want out of life. You have to make yourself and what you're striving for known, and with God's grace and blessing, you have to do something about it, too. Not much gets accomplished trying to fly below the radar.
- Don't take anyone or anything seriously. As hard as it is to make your way in this world, there's still no substitute for a great sense of humor. Let's face it. There are few things on Earth that are really and truly important in light of eternity. So, don't take yourself or anyone else so seriously all the time that you can't throw your head back and laugh at circumstances that you find yourself in. Your ability to laugh at yourself and the mistakes which prompt it make you easy to relate to by others…and quite attractive as well. Also, remember that others' opinions of you are just that…their own. Don't take them to heart and certainly don't let them define you. Only possess your opinions.
As big as my teens are and as mature as they seem, they're still and always will be my babies. I see them as vulnerable and fragile creatures who are in no way ready for what the world will deal them. Yet, my prayer is that through life lessons, teachable moments and just an old-fashioned parental speech — they will glean all they need to know to not only survive but thrive. Despite me, they have so much to offer. They simply must find their own voice.
The SCV Advocate program is designed to work with parents of college-bound teens who are active in their high school or home school communities or who are just seeking some additional help navigating the college admissions process. Membership in the program is free. Click here for more information.