Last Friday afternoon was one of those great parent moments…when taking your daughter to Sandy’s on “National Donut Day” (what I thought was just the two of us) turns into four of her friends joining in and two hours later you’re driving them all home–including one bike in the back—on your afternoon off.
After dropping the last girls off, I asked Bella their names, thinking I might remember them for next time. She said most of them already follow me on Instagram—and that they even read the stuff on my website.
I laughed, because I barely remembered I had a website.
So it turns out my core demographic is 14 year old girls. Odd, since I admittedly know nearly nothing about them except what they like to eat. But if nearly my entire audience IS 14-year old girls, here is what I want them to know:
- Own your space. Defend your space. You belong on that team. You belong in that school. You belong in that circle of friends. You belong anywhere you choose to go…just as much as the famous, the rich, and the haters. Act like you belong, and you will belong. “You can’t lead a cavalry if you think you look funny on a horse.” (That quote has gotten me through…well…my entire career?)
- Stop saying you’re sorry every time you second-guess yourself. Why? See #9.
- Before all else, be a good human being. Over time, you’ll be healthier, sleep better and be so much happier by simply doing one thing every day—being nice to everyone. Everyone. Without exception. Being nice to 90% of the people you meet still doesn’t make you a nice person.
- Never turn kindness into something less. There are very few ways for boys (or anyone) to show chivalry these days, so when it happens? Be polite and thank them. Even if you don’t know them. Even if you don’t want to date them. Even if you don’t like them. “I can open my own door,” is obviously true…but don’t crush anyone’s spirit of giving or helping. Accept acts of kindness with kindness returned, and never immediately question the giver’s motivation.
- The percent of the world’s population who cares about you is almost zero. When someone takes the time to reach out to you and asks how you’re doing, you owe more to them than just, “fine”, or worse–lashing out or questioning why they would ask. Love those people who think of you without wanting something from you. Friends who simply ask “How are you?” are few. Thank them for asking, and return the courtesy as often as you can.
- You’re Beautiful. Never leave the house doubting that. Your look might be different, but different is so good. Different is what makes people famous. Only be friends with people who think you’re beautiful. Only date people who think you’re beautiful. Those are the only people with whom you’ll be able to have healthy relationships…and (don’t forget this part) healthy relationships are the meaning of life.
- During your career, there will always be “one more thing to do.” Go home anyway.
- Find your “thing.” We all need a creative outlet. Don’t let your only creative outlet be your use of emojis x 100. Please please please please—never let your phone be your “thing.” Your phone (and someday, your job) are there to free up enough time to really do your “thing.” We all have a talent. Some are less-obvious than others. Find yours.
- None of us really know what we’re doing. So much of life–at any age–is just solving whatever problems come up, doing your best to prevent them from happening in the first place, and trying to find a little joy in each day. You think you aren’t prepared? You’re really nervous about trying something new, or meeting new people? Annoying little things keep popping up? Welcome to the party. If you’re often nervous or confused or feel over-matched, you’re fitting in better than you think.
- Listen to your parents. There will come a day when you realize your parents aren’t as smart as you thought they were. There will also come a day when you realize your parents still gave you the best advice of anyone.
This blog page was inspired by someone else’s daughter, a 19-year old artist who reminded me that art is important. Thank you, Tessa.
And thank you, Bella Grace. You’ve already taught me more than I could ever teach you.
I can’t wait for what you’ll teach me tomorrow.