I was confronted by my own mortality the other day. Long story short, it got me thinking about what would happen if I wasn’t here. In a flash, my eyes welled up at the thought of not getting to watch my kids grow up, to not be an integral part of their young lives and help mold who they will become.
Not to be overly dramatic or morbid, but realistically, we never know how much time we have left. So in case I’m not around, I wanted to tell my kids the most important things I want them to know. Here is a list of 9 things I want my child to know.
1. The only limit to your greatness is your fears and the limits you place on yourself. You can be anything you want to be. You can do anything you want to do if you work hard, believe in yourself, and never give up.
2. Love yourself and be your best friend. You are unique, special and no one is a better judge of who you are than yourself.
3. Take what other people say about you with a grain of salt. You can never really know someone else’s intentions.
4. Treat people with kindness, love, generosity and fairness. Don’t judge people too harshly for their mistakes and learn to forgive; it’s impossible to know people’s backstories or completely understand their actions.
5. You only have one reputation. Guard yours closely and don’t do things you know would disappoint your mom and dad.
6. Always put your best self out in the world and take pride in your appearance—that means, dressing well and being well groomed. The world judges us by how we look, whether we like it or not. Their opinions shouldn’t matter to you, but you’re giving yourself the best chance for success if you look your best. People will take you seriously because you show that you care about yourself.
7. Enjoy the simple little things in life and live in the moment. Pay attention to the flowering trees and the beautiful puffy-clouds in the sky. Life is much more fun when you find joy in the small things.
8. Travel as much and as often as you can, especially when you are in college, before you have a lot of personal and financial responsibilities.
9. Be a risk-taker. Don’t fear the unknown. Jump in and explore as much of this world as you can.
Rocco and Giada — I love you more than anything else in the world. I hope I’ll get to see you grow up and become the amazing humans I know you will become. But if I’m not around some day, please never forget just how much I love you.