Knowing that I am the primary female role model for my three precious daughters, I feel an incredible responsibility to teach them everything they need to know about how to become successful, independent women. These are some lessons I am trying very hard to instill in them.
1. Appreciate your history. You come from a long line of incredible people. Be proud of that. Cherish it. Friends come and go, but, for better or worse, family is forever.
2. Do what makes you happy and be confident in yourself. Do what brings you joy -- not what all your friends are doing; not what will earn you the biggest salary. Popularity and money are worthless if you are miserable. Take pride in your uniqueness and never try to be something you are not in an effort to please others.
3. Be financially responsible. Money is a necessary evil. While money does not buy happiness, mismanagement of your finances can cause great strife. Learn to create a budget and stick to it. Learn the difference between what you want and what you need.
4. Keep order in your life. I have learned that keeping order to begin with will keep you from stressing and scrambling later. It is much easier to hurry out the door if you know where to find your shoes and purse!
5. Laugh. Some of my best memories involve times when I laughed with other people. Bill Cosby said, "You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything then you can survive it." Keep laughter in your life -- it is good for your soul!
6. Don't forget to take care of yourself. As women, we often focus on caring for others. You have to take care of yourself, too. Once in a while, buy yourself something new; get a manicure; take a nap. Never feel guilty for taking a moment to "recharge your own batteries."
7. Follow through. Finish what you start and keep your commitments. Even if it's something you don't enjoy, complete the task. When you tell people you will do something, follow through -- someone is counting on you.
8. Do not wish your life away. Each stage of your life is a unique gift. Be wise enough to recognize the beauty of each stage and enjoy it while you can -- it will not last.
9. Know your limitations. You have talents, but you also have limitations. You should certainly expect greatness from yourself and set high goals, but no one can do everything. Be realistic and adjust your goals to fit your schedule and abilities. Remember, too, there is no shame in asking for help.
10. Learn proper grammar and proofread. Our words have a great impact on the people we encounter in life. Using proper grammar and spelling shows that you are intelligent, pay attention to detail and have devoted your time to doing it correctly.
11. Present solutions, not just problems. There is nothing wrong with speaking up when there are problems that need to be addressed. Don't just complain and whine, though. State what you see as a problem and then present a solution. It shows others that you are trying to help rather than just being a "squeaky wheel."
12. Surround yourself with good people. Choose friends wisely. Envelope yourself with positive, supportive, intelligent, morally ethical people with whom you share a mutual respect. Choose friends who see your beauty (inside and out) and who make you a better, happier person.
13. Stand up for your beliefs. No matter which side of an issue you take, stick with it and don't change your opinion to please someone else. Educate yourself and be able to intelligently defend your position. Remember to show others respect, too, even if you disagree.
14. Be Strong. Be brave. Have Faith. Unfortunately, I cannot shelter you from bad things in life. You will experience failure, sadness, anger, loneliness and disappointment. When you do, it is okay to cry and necessary to grieve. Don't let the bad times define you, though. When you face adversity, stay strong and be brave. Remember that there is good in people and there is good in the world. Find it. Hold onto it. Have faith that the good will always overcome.
As I read back over these, it is painfully evident that I am far from perfect, but I'm trying to be the best mom I can be. Above all else, I hope my girls remember that they are loved more than they will ever know. I hope that love will give them strength, courage and confidence, wherever their lives may lead.
A version of this post originally ran on Lisa's blog, The Golden Spoons. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.