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  • Writer's picturealliemacs

A Year of Lessons for my Kids

More than a few lessons 2020 inspired to continue instilling into our kids...

Take care of your body.

You only have one body. Nurture it. Move it. Don't sit for too long. Stretch. Go outside. Put things in your body that will fuel you, not deplete you. That being said, eat the special treats - just not all the time. Keep it special. Sitting and looking at a screen all day isn't good for you - go outside and play!

Take care of your mind.

Your mental health is JUST as important as your physical health. Research shows that your mental health has a direct impact on your physical health and your immune system. During the most stressful times in my life and when my mental health was not great, I've ended up coming down with some sort of illness. Those were actually the times I've been the most sick in my whole life! Live a healthy, balanced life: eat healthy foods, drink water, exercise, connect in healthy relationships, get outside and breathe fresh air, and do things that make you happy! If shit hits the fan in life and you can't get out of a slump (I've been there! And you probably will at sometime too.), go see a therapist or psychiatrist, or if you need to, get on the medication that you need. There is NO shame in taking care of your mental health. It will not only help you, but it will positively affect everyone around you. The least selfish thing you can do is ask for help when you need it.

Breathe in fresh air.

Get outside and BREATHE. IT. IN. Don't ever let anything prohibit you from breathing in clean fresh air. Some benefits are: 1. It helps clear your lungs 2. It can give you more energy and mental focus 3. It lowers your blood pressure and heart rate 3. It helps you heal faster 4. It can improve your digestion. Breathing FRESH air is NEVER a bad idea! Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

You are allowed to think what you want.

Don't let ANYONE tell you what to have to think or what to believe. If someone is telling you that you HAVE to believe in something, you do not want to be around that person. They wouldn't make a good friend, a good coworker or a good boss. You can't trust that person. God gave you a brain to think your own thoughts with. You don't have to believe what you learn at school. You don't have to believe what you learn at church. You don't have to believe what you read in the news. You don't have to believe what you see on TV. You don't have to believe what Dad and I teach you. You have the freedom of choice, and that is a BEAUTIFUL thing to have. I hope that you will choose to believe (key word CHOOSE) along the lines that your Dad and I are teaching you. But if you don't, we will still love you. Which brings me to...

Respect other people's opinions.

God made us all different and we are all completely unique beings. It is okay to think and believe differently than someone else. Every single person on this earth is coming from a different place with a different experience in life. Everyone has a different perspective. Isn't that great? Isn't it great that we can learn from each other, and that people believe different things for different reasons? It's what makes the world go round, and if we all believed the same stuff, life would be oh so boring. Your friend might think peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best and you might like turkey sandwiches and guess what? Nobody's wrong! And you can still be friends even though you disagree on some things. What IS wrong is if someone tells you that you have to like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when you don't. And if they turn against you because you believe something differently, that's messed up. Probably someone you don't want to be around. Or if someone calls you a mean name for believing something different than you, that's messed up too. Don't waste your time with people like that.

Don't be a tattle tale. No-one likes tattletales.

When you see someone sneak some candy out of the pantry right before dinner, just let it go. If someone said they brushed their teeth but didn't, don't come running down to tell Dad or I. Don't constantly look for reasons to get someone in trouble. Now, if someone is playing with fire or planning to do something to hurt someone or something, that's not tattle telling and it's important to tell an adult. But for all the little things - you gotta mind your own business and go find something better to do.

Let people see your SMILE!

Let people see your smile. Or frown. Or whatever you're feeling. If there's one thing I've learned in 36 years, it's that connection and communication are oh so important, and hiding emotion never has never been beneficial, unless you're playing cards. You are allowed to have whatever emotion you are feeling, and you are allowed to express it in a healthy way. But it's pretty hard when you can't see someone's face. Your smile could cause a chain reaction and that's the kind of chain reactions we want in this world! Smile away. A smile definitely doesn't kill and don't let anyone tell you the opposite.

Virtual Connection will never be better than In Person Connection.

It's super cool that we can FaceTime and Zoom with people and connect on Social Media. But it will NEVER EVER replace the importance of human, in-person connection. We were born for human connection, we need it to thrive. It's part of our mental health, which links to our physical health. When you are feeling sad, the best medicine is to see a friend or family member. Make sure you are actually WITH people in person, more than connecting with people online. Nothing beats face to face. And A LOT can be misinterpreted through text or social media. And don't forget to look people in the eyes when you're talking to them!

Hug people you love.

There's this video that I can't seem to locate where random people hug for a few minutes hooked up monitors and it shows that hugging actually lowers their stress. Make sure you are hugging the people you love. And smiling at them. A hug and a smile go a long way. Again, a chain reaction. I guess the disclaimer to this one is that you can only hug someone if they want to be hugged.

Be polite and go with the flow.

If you're at your friends house and you're not crazy about what's for dinner, just try and eat it without making a fuss. If you're allergic to peanuts and there's peanut sauce on the stir fry or whatever - don't eat it. Just don't cause a big scene. In life, go with the flow unless it is really against your beliefs. That being said...

You don't have to follow the crowd!

Stand up for what you believe in! If you don't agree with the crowd and something feels off, stand up for what you think is right! Odds are, if you feel that way, there are a lot of other people that feel the same way and are just not saying it. You will probably inspire others by standing up for what you think! Don't ever be violent or tell people that they are wrong, but also - don't worry about offending people. Because people are easily offended these days. And if you get easily offended, time to toughen up a little bit and let things roll off a little more. Nobody wants to be around someone who they think is going to get their feelings hurt easily just because you don't agree with them.

It's okay to change your mind.

It's 100% okay to change your mind about something. If we are constantly learning and being open to new ideas and ways of thinking (which we should be), then we are discovering new information all the time. That may change the way we think and feel. And that's a good thing. Don't ever be stubborn and stuck in your ways. Be sure you're always aligning with your guiding principles, but to admit that you were wrong or to change your stance on something is definitely not a weakness. In my opinion, it's a strength. Admitting your weaknesses and when you're wrong is actually a strength.

Respect authority but don't be afraid to question it.

Dad and I have taught you to be respectful of everyone, especially authority and elder figures. Just because you respect them does not mean you need to agree with them, and it doesn't mean they are always right. If something doesn't seem right, talk to us, or someone else that you trust.

Most people are good.

For the most part, people have good intentions. They are doing what they think is best. They may have a different opinion of what is good, but they are probably coming from a good place. They just have a different experience. Then there are the crazy extremists that ruin it for everyone. They are not good. If they are being violent or hateful because people believe differently, that is NOT OK. It is ok to fight back and defend yourself, but don't instigate with violence. But if someone punches you in the face or someone else, sure - punch them back harder. They probably deserve it. But then walk away and be done.

Mean people started out good.

You know the bullies at school? Do you think they were born mean? I don't think so. I think people are born good and then something in life messes them up. Maybe something really bad or sad happens to them along the way. Their parents couldn't take care of them properly or were mean. They didn't learn how to love. Their heart hurts and never heals. They need love. Practice empathy towards mean people. They probably have endured some pretty terrible things to end up being that way.

Don't live in fear.

If there is one thing that's been reinforced in my study of the Bible and my yoga practice, it's to live in the present moment. Don't live in the past - there's literally nothing you can do about it. Don't live in the future, because to prepare for the future you have to live in the now. "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. That is why it is called the present." Eleanor Roosevelt. Living in fear will only make you crazy. I've been there. The last thing we need in the world are more crazy people. It says "Do not fear" 365 times in the Bible. God's trying to tell us something. Don't do it.

Love always wins.

Love doesn't mean agreeing. Love doesn't mean following along. Love means doing things IN love. I love you but am not going to always give you what you want. Sometimes Dad and I have to practice tough love. Love isn't always easy or what you want it to be. Make sure whatever you do, do it with the intention of love. That will never guide you in the wrong direction. Even if love is the bumpy road, it is always the right way.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27

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