1. You don’t have to talk big to be cool.
Guys seem to have a dynamic of competition that is fun and playful but can lead to “big talk” or making yourself look and sound bigger than you are really are. Whether in sports, academics, girlfriends, stuff you have or stuff you can do, boys have no problem sharing all their amazing qualities with one another. This is awesome! Except that those qualities can sometimes be exaggerated and blown out of proportion.
Trust that you are an amazing kid without needing to promote yourself or exaggerate a single thing. People can see who you are without you having to tell them. Be yourself and you won’t need to talk yourself up.
2. Playing sports is not the most important thing in the world.
There is huge excitement and a rush that comes with watching someone who is great at a sport and everyone loves to be connected to a winning team. But sometimes the sports culture and our obsession with it can lead us to think sports are more important than everything else. It also creates the idea that kids who don’t play sports are second class citizens.
Your job as an awesome human being is to see everyone for their character above their performance. A lot of kids will be liked for what they do in a sport, not how they actually treat people. Avoid the trap of this particular type of group-think. And, if you are one of the athletes, be kinder and more inclusive of others because of it. Not the other way around.
3. You are in charge of your body—your body is not in charge of you.
You have a strong mind and a strong body. You are in charge of it, no one else. It is special to me and I hope it is special to you. It doesn’t matter what others are doing with their bodies, you decide what you’re comfortable with.
You may feel sometimes as if your body is the leader of your actions, but your brain is what drives your body. Always. You will have some pretty lit (as you kids say these days) relationships when you are older and wiser and you will experience everything in time. Don’t rush.
4. Your emotions are just as important as your grades, sports, friends or activities—actually, even more so!
Historically, boys and men have been taught to ignore their emotions, but trust that you have just as many feelings as every other human being (about 27 basic ones and even more complex ones!). Limiting your emotions or choosing to ignore them, limits your existence and your incredible awe-filled life experiences!
So, no matter how uncomfortable, embarrassing or difficult it may be at times, listen to yourself, pay attention to how you feel and learn talk about your emotions with the people you trust (i.e. your mom). They make you who you are and you are amazing.
5. Blame me for anything.
There will be times that you are faced with difficult decisions. When all your friends are doing something that you know is not okay, when your conscience is tugging at your, but your brain is confused because something sounds fun or you’re curious or you don’t want your friends to be mad at you for not joining in.
When you know you should say no, but that doesn’t seem like enough, when the pressure is there, blame me. Tell your friends your mom turns crazy and will ground you for life. Tell them I have superhuman powers and will find out everything so you just can’t do it. Of course, I trust you to make good decisions, but when you need an excuse, blame me.
6. I expect you to make mistakes and yes, even fail at a few things, too.
If you don’t know this by now, I will tell you again; it’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, I want you to, because that means you are trying new things and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. This is the only way to actually grow as a human being and to find out all your incredible strengths.
How you handle failure is one of the best things to know about yourself, because there is little in this world more difficult than failure. It does not denote an end, but only a hurdle over which one must learn a new way to leap. And I know you are a great problem solver.
7. I am so proud of you.
Already I can see inside of you a huge heart and a strong mind. I can see your generous spirit and caring soul that looks out for the underdog. I love your cool hairdos and your insistence on needing to come to your own decisions on your own time, in your own way. You have a depth of character, persistence and a profound desire for the truth. You already know yourself well.
Trust yourself, love yourself. You have everything inside of you that you will ever need. And know that I am here, always, loving and trusting you, shining a light on you as you grow, stretch and run wildly and beautifully through life. I am so proud of you.