#47 Life Isn’t Fair, But It’s Still Good

(Note: The next 45 days or there about are pieces of advice from an article by Regina Brett. The Article can be read here. I first heard her advice over 2 years ago and it was a base inspiration for this blog. I am simply taking her advice and applying it. Thanks for the good advice Regina–I’m glad you aren’t really 90.)

Life Isn’t Fair, But It’s Still Good.

Could that be any more true? You will probably hear me say “Life isn’t fair..” plenty of times in the coming years. I just hope I always remember to add on the “But it’s still good” part.

Life isn’t fair when you get sick with a horrible cold two days before your wedding–but it’s still good when you get married to your best friend.

Life isn’t fair when you total your car on your way to a volunteer project — but it’s still good when you realize you were able to walk away.

Life isn’t fair when your dog and best friend since the third grade dies unexpectedly — but it’s still good when you have more than one shoulder to cry on.

Life isn’t fair when your friends get to do something that your parent’s make you stay home from — but it’s still good when your best friend stays back with you ..because that is what best friends do.

Life isn’t fair when you have to work three part time jobs to help cover the basic expenses while still making time for family — but it’s still good when your sweet little girl gets to wrap her arms around you whenever she wants and plants sweet wet kisses all over your cheeks.

Please understand that life isn’t fair (or always ideal) but if you look at things just right..you will see that it is still good and let me tell you something girl–you’ve got it really good.

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#43 Write Letters To People You Love

The art of the hand written letter is dying. I’ve been told they don’t even teach cursive in schools anymore. I remember spending a good chunk of third grade working the kinks out of my hands from writing fifty cursive z-s (I also walked up hill both ways to school..). People from earlier generations are probably scoffing at my complaining about third grade cursive when they wrote out entire research papers in neatly inked cursive.

Of course, you don’t have to write your letter in cursive..mom was just getting off topic.

What I want to emphasize is that letters are special. There is nothing better than getting a thoughtful loving letter in the mail after weeks (or months) of junk-mail and bills. In a world of text messages and e-mails, a handwritten letter says “I’m thinking of you”. It says that the writer took time to sit down away from the distraction of conference calls, Facebook notifications, and important blog reading to focus on the words I wanted to express to you.

I don’t tend to keep e-mails stashed away for future sentimental reading. What I can tell you is that I still have letters written to me my first year away from home at college or sent to me while I was at summer camp. Whenever I find those treasured letters that I’ve kept stashed away I can’t help but smile and feel that the world is an okay place.

I guess I’m just asking you to not let the art of the hand written letter fade away entirely. At least once a month think of someone you love–someone you miss–someone you haven’t seen in a while–someone you just want to share something with–and send them a letter. You can include a picture, a funny drawing, write about a memory, a new idea. Heck, most people would even be happy to get a letter talking about the beautiful weather that day.

I promise if you write letters to the ones you love–you will reap nothing but rewards from it in return.

PS–Don’t forget to write a letter to Santa too..


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#39 Wear Your Seat Belt

I was never afraid of driving or riding in a car until I had you. That first trip in the car on the way home from the hospital I was convinced that every crack and crevice in the road was going to startle and shake you. I don’t think we went over 15 mph the whole way home. That probably ticked some people off.

It is a matter of fact that cars can be dangerous. I’ve already covered the basics of making sure to stop at stop signs. For the next piece of road related advice I’m going to keep it simple–Wear your seat belt. In the driver’s seat, in the passenger seat, in the back seat, anywhere inside a moving vehicle WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT! Now this is the point where someone who greatly annoys me points out an instance where someone ended up hurt or worse because they had their seat belt on in a car accident. Let me assure you that these cases are rare when taken into account with the number of lives saved by seat belts.

See the picture of the car up there? That car belonged to your me–your mom. The only thing that kept this fender bender from being a possible head injury as my body flew forward after a run-in with a semi making an illegal turn was the seat belt that locked and held me in place. I managed to walk away from this with nothing but a slightly cut and sore shoulder along the line where my seat belt had worked to hold me into place.

I don’t care what the laws say. I don’t care if you are in the back seat or the front seat. I don’t care if your friends don’t think it is cool. I don’t want you to end up ejected from a vehicle, knocked unconscious, or worse because you decided it was “just a short drive” or so “uncool” to wear your seat belt when you got into the vehicle that day.

Need some numbers? According the website for the National Organization for Youth Safety:

  • Among passenger vehicle occupants over age 4, seat belts saved an estimated 13,250 lives in 2008.  If all passenger vehicle occupants over age 4 had worn seat belts, 17,402 could have been saved.
  • In 2008, 64% of the passenger vehicle occupants ages 13 to 15 and 21 to 34 killed in traffic crashes were not using restraints.  These age groups had the highest percentage out of all age groups.
  • Research has shown that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%.

Keep looking you will find them everywhere.

The day I had you, was the day driving became scary. You are my most precious gift and while I will protect you as long as I can, you will reach an age where I hope you will take this advice and protect yourself and buckle up every time.

Here you are in your new car seat. A Britax Marathon 70 in which you will be rear facing for as long as possible. The picture isn’t the best but trust me–you are always buckled in.

 

#32 Be On Time

You arrived 5 days after your due date. That is about the only time running late will ever be truly acceptable in your life.

In sports growing up I heard more than one coach use the phrase – “If you’re early, you’re on time — If you’re on time, you’re late — and if you’re late, you run!” That was some pretty good motivation to be at all practices not simply on time, but even a few minutes early. To be honest, I actually managed to get a lot done in those few early minutes. When I showed up early to practice I had time to warm up on my own, stretch, focus, or maybe ask the coach a question or two before it was time to get started with the day’s practice plans. I quickly learned that being punctual was important.

If my coaches weren’t able to get it through my head then my dad (Your Ba-Pa) definitely tried his hardest to get the point across. With him we were always at places approximately 5-10 minutes early. I have to admit there were times I didn’t understand the point. Other times, however, it brought some neat rewards. Being just 10 minutes early to Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, Missouri allowed my dad and I to get a close-up and rather behind-the-scenes look at their collection of Clydesdale foals. For a horse girl like your momma, that was a big deal! The workers weren’t busy with other guests and we weren’t being intrusive just patiently waiting for our early morning tour so they were more than willing to talk with us and show us around in places they couldn’t always take big groups of people.

Being on time is a great skill. It isn’t likely that your future boss will make you go running if you are late to a meeting or that your college professors will you give you a sneak peek at a test if you are early. However I can assure you that being late to a job interview significantly decreases your chances of employment. Turning in assignments late at work decreases your value to your boss and soon your value to a company. Not being on time to a test in college will often mean you don’t even get the opportunity to take it. Be on time–better yet be early.

Arriving early (we are talking 5-10 minutes here, not two hours which would just be creepy) to places benefits you almost every time. Try not arriving a bit early to an airport like Chicago O’Hare and I assure you that you won’t make that mistake again. When you arrive early to a job interview you have time to take a look around a potential place of future employment. You also have a chance to double check your appearance, glance over your resume, say a prayer, and collect your thoughts. Arriving early to a test means that you can take some deep breaths, make sure you have all your supplies, stare at your notes, and smile at those panicked flustered faces of your peers who are sneaking in the door at the last minute.

C’mon girl–set that alarm clock and please be on time!

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#31 Go Ahead and Get Angry–But Don’t Hit!

Anger is a STRONG emotion. Like many emotions it does not have only an emotional affect on us but also a physical one. When you are mad your heart may pump a little harder and faster, your blood pressure may rise, your muscles can get tense, your face can get hot, and your adrenaline can get flowing. Trust me, I’ve been mad a time or two in my life.

It is OK to be angry. As a matter of fact it is even OK to be angry with me. Anger is normal and even can be healthy. How you express your anger is very important.

I understand that as a child you will most likely, naturally, go through a phase where hitting is how you express anger and frustration. Therefore, we will probably have a lot of simple and eventually more complex discussions of this issue. I still find it important to write down why I, on a personal level, think hitting is unacceptable.

1. As previously mentioned hitting is an immature child’s reaction to anger. When you are in your teens and twenties (barring medical condition) it will not be socially acceptable for you to suck your thumb, sleep in a crib, wear a diaper, or hit people. Hitting says that you have the mind of a child and not the adult you have grown into.

2. Hitting out of anger is a mark of unintelligence. To me, hitting says “I have not learned the words or gained enough understanding to express my anger without physically victimizing someone.” It says that you have the physical capability to express your anger but not the mental one. Sad.

3. Hitting out of anger shows that you have lost control. Hitting says that you have let your emotions win the control of your body. That you would rather hurt someone else physically than take the time to control your own mind and body.

Anger is a STRONG emotion. It takes time and practice (and lots of slip-ups) to learn how to control, channel, and express it. There are a lot of inappropriate ways to express your anger. Hitting is one of them. It makes you look foolish, it physically harms other people or objects, it (99.9% of the time) does NOT solve the issue that caused you to be mad in the first place. Over the years we will have lots of talks about anger. I want you to be angry–angry at injustice, angry at cruelty, angry at yourself from time to time–but I want to help you gain the tools and ability to turn your anger into action, into peace making, into something better than a physical uncontrolled outburst.

Class dismissed.

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