« Parenting

What I Wish I Would Have Known

by Mark Evans

I've found myself thinking a lot about my two children lately.  It might be because of distance and time apart as they continue on with their lives in Michigan; while I start over again here in Minnesota.  Perhaps it's because I'm getting reflective as I grow older, or maybe it's because I continue to be in awe with the success they are both achieving as they mature in to young adults.

I guess the "why" doesn't really matter - I am and that's what I need to address by writing this BLOG post today; and what advice I'd like to offer both my son and daughter as their lives go on.  These are a few things I wish someone would have shared with me when I was young.  I know they're not going to listen as, like most 15 and 18 years old kids, they already know what I'm going to say.  But, perhaps if it's written down - one day they'll hear my experienced "voice" and learn.

IT'S OK TO FORGIVE:  Took a long time for me to come to grips with this one.  I didn't attend any of my high school reunions because there were people there who had wronged me in the past.  I held that grudge like a badge of honor for years and years - and it did me absolutely NO GOOD.  I missed out on seeing people I would have liked to have visited with, and because of my stubborn sanctimony I also missed seeing several classmates who are now gone forever.  Don't let the past dictate your future.  Put your past in the past and look forward.  You drive a car by looking forward out of the windshield - not by staring in the rear view mirror. 

BE CAREFUL OF TRUST:  I moved out of the house when I was 18 and in to an apartment with a co-worker.  I was free from my parents, free from curfew, free to do whatever and whenever I wanted which was cool.  But, I forgot a few things when I moved out.  I forgot that other people would also be invading my living space while I wasn't there.  I forgot it wasn't MY room.  I forgot to take $200.00 cash to the bank one day when I left to go to dinner with my girlfriend; and my friend had people over.  Guess who no longer had $200.00 to take to the bank.  Always protect yourself and your items.  People will indeed take from you what you're willing to leave lying around.  I'm not saying don't trust anyone...but trust your own judgement first and foremost.

PUT IN MORE THAN YOU TAKE OUT:  Life is an amazing thing - the more you put in, the more you'll get out of it.  Ask yourself every day if I'm doing more harm than good to the people in my life.  Ask yourself if you're part of the solution.....or part of the problem.  Ask yourself everyday what you can do to make your life more fulfilling, more fruitful and more valuable.  Not possessions - but how YOU can be more valuable.  How can you become irreplaceable with friends, with co-workers, employers.  Ask yourself these things every day and you'll be putting yourself at the top of everyone's list - including yours.

LAUGH:  Find someone you can laugh with.  It makes everything else seem OK, even if it's just for a little bit.  Always remember, there are times to be serious - but if you're willing to be the counter-weight of serious once that moment is over; you'll find yourself surrounded by people who are fun, creative and willing to live life.  

NEVER SETTLE:  You're a smart, creative, fun person.  Always reach for the next level no matter what it is, and no matter how some around you may try to beat you down from trying to achieve your goals and dreams.  There are always going to be people who build themselves up by tearing you down to their level.  These are people who have settled for less.  We all have dreams...the difference between those who realize their dreams and those who don't is simple:  Those who didn't make it happen, settled for less.  Don't!  There will always be ways to get where you want to be.....and once you're where you want to be; make sure you take a good hard look at where you are.  Then dream again.....