Wednesday, June 13, 2012

100 things continued: numbers 70-61

Time to learn more new things!  Today's list has a few items near and dear to your mama's heart.

70. Sneeze and cough into your arm: Girl... for real.  Right now you're a baby so of course you don't know any better, but mama looks forward to a day where your sneeze doesn't end up all over her face, arms, hands, clothes, the dog, the furniture, etc.  Just in general, practicing good germ control is a necessity. 

69. Be confident: Confidence isn't something that comes naturally.  I can't tell you the number of times I wish I could go back to Junior High and High School with the confidence I've gained over the years and re-do a whole lot of that stuff.  It's really hard to have confidence during your teenage years when every little thing seems like a huge drama.  Your mom and dad are going to do the very best they can to booster your self-esteem so you can create your own confidence!  My best advice for building confidence is to realize that few things in life will turn out as poorly as you fear they will.  Are you confused about something in class but scared to speak up and ask a question?  Don't worry!  As smart as you already are if you're confused about something chances are someone else is even more confused and even more scared to ask!  You could help them out!  Are you worried you will be rejected by a group of people you want to hang out with?  Having confidence makes you attractive to other people.  They'll likely want to be your friend just because you seem so cool and in control of things!  Again, I wish I had the confidence I have now back when it would have made me the coolest kid in school!

68. Be independent:  Having confidence in yourself naturally leads to independence!  Confident people enjoy their independence and enjoy tackling the puzzles of every day life.  I've said before that I want you to live on your own for a little while so you can learn how to manage your own life as an individual.  Ideally, I imagine you would leave our home, go to college and live with roommates, then graduate and move out on your own for a little while before you find the love of your life and make a home with him or her.  (Yes, I said him OR her.  Your mama just wants you to be with someone who makes you happy and who treats you right!)  Living on your own means you don't rely on anyone but yourself to make your way in life.  Be strong enough to rely only on yourself for a little while.  It will give you the confidence to leave a bad situation if you find yourself in one someday (knowing you can survive on your own).  

67. Donate time to those less fortunate: I'm very excited to find out what things drive and motivate you as you get older because I think you can and will do a lot of good in your life.  Right now it looks like animals are a passion of yours.  I can't tell you how many times we have to stop and watch the birds or the squirrels while we're out and about!  A trip to the pet store makes you giddy!  I imagine someday you will want to volunteer your time at the animal shelter to help the puppies and kitties who don't have homes.  I imagine us going together as a family to donate our time and our energies to helping the homeless animals.  I also imagine us finding other projects to help with around our community!  It is important to give back to the community you love and I'd love to do that together as a family!

66. Read a newspaper: Let's face it... news as a print medium is on it's way out as I speak.  By the time you're old enough to read a newspaper, it will probably all be electronic!  Right now, in 2012, I can subscribe to any major newspaper and read it on my Nook e-reader.  Most people can do the same with their smart phones, too.  Still, keeping up to date with the news is very important.  We live in a global world where things that happen halfway across the globe can very well effect aspects of your day to day life.  Also, keeping up with the world's news keeps you informed and educated on matters which may eventually have great importance.  Do not allow yourself to be ignorant of global issues, nor should you ignore local issues in lieu of the grand scale.  Keep a good balance and keep yourself informed.  Oh... and for the love of all that is intellectual... be sure you get your news from an ACTUAL well-balanced source, not just one that claims to be well-balanced and fair.

65. Apply mascara: You know what... do this if you want but it is totally not required!  There are times when I like the way it makes me look but most of the time it just feels heavy and annoying on my lashes.  I'll show you how to do it, but only because I want you to know how to do pretty much everything.  If it doesn't apply to you and your life, you can promptly forget it!

64. Tie a tie (bonus points for a bow tie): Being a child of a single father I learned how to tie a tie as a teenager.  It's totally not hard to tie a good Windsor knot!  As far as the bow tie thing goes... my skills are poor at best.  Maybe we'll practice all of that together so we can tease daddy about his zip-up tie!

63. Remove a chocolate stain: Ok, we're going to change this to say "Remove a stain" because there are WAY more devious staining materials out there than just chocolate!  Blood, ink, chocolate, mustard, wine, grass... these are just a few of the things lurking out there waiting to ruin your favorite outfit!  Thankfully the internet is full of great ideas on how to remove stains from things.  The most important thing I can say about stain removal is to be sure you don't run the outfit through the dryer until the stain is all the way out.  Taking a tumble in the dryer just bakes those things in and it makes it MUCH harder to get them out!  I'm a big fan of using Shout on all of your baby stains.  It even got red sauce out of a white shirt (after several attempts, but still...)

62. Wrap a present: If you are even half as creative as your dad and half as determined as your mom you will want to know how to wrap neat looking presents.  I can't say I'm a present-wrapping guru, but through the power of a little website called Pinterest, I have found a lot of neat present wrapping ideas that we can use as a family!  Personally, I think the most important part of any present is the bow!  Always use a bow!

61. Find a book in a library:  As someone who works in a library I can't tell you how many times college seniors come up to me at the Reference Desk and have NO idea how to navigate the library.  This will not be you.  I plan to have you be the only kid in your entire class who is already citing scholarly database articles in grade school papers.  It is never too soon to learn how to do proper research!  I will have done my job as a parent and as a library worker/Reference specialist if you can find your own library books... in any call number system... on your own by the age of 5.  Challenge ACCEPTED!

To be continued....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

100 things: numbers 80-71

Continuing on with the 100 things I want to teach you before you fly the coop!  Here are numbers 80-71:

80. Comfort others:  We live in a world where the art of truly offering comfort to others during times of hardship is lost on many of us.  Most people, including your mama at times, would rather just pretend like something isn't bothering them or bothering those around them.  It's much easier to go through life pretending like your whole world isn't imploding around you because hardship makes people nervous, embarrassed, anxious, and vulnerable. Well, gosh... we all have hardship from time to time, right?  We all have times where it would be great if someone could just come up to us and let us know that things are going to be okay and that they're there for us if we need them.  I want you to be that person because I desperately want you to have empathy and compassion for your fellow human.  Learn to recognize when loved ones are hurting and take the initiative to help them through it if they'll allow you to do so.  You can figure out the way you offer comfort (listening, making food, helping with tangible things, etc.) but make the effort to do it.  You will be rewarded in more ways than you can imagine.

79. Support yourself: This is a BROAD topic but a very good way of encompassing just about everything I want you to learn.  You need to be able to make it through life with just the sweat of your own brow because you never ever know if you can rely on someone else to do these things for you.  Learn how to pay your bills, balance your work and social obligations, fix things that break, get out of sticky situations... basically, just learn how to BE!  College roommates are good for teaching you how to live with other people, but I also want you to spend some time living on your own so you can learn how to live with YOU!  Don't be one of those people who needs other people to survive.  You just need yourself.  Everything else is frosting on the cake, trust me.

78. Negotiate: How did your mama manage to knock $1,000 off of the price of her 2001 Kia Rio back in 2003 when she bought it?  She complained about the color when she knew it was a difficult color and they had NO other 2001 Kia Rios in stock.  Also, it was purchased at the end of the month when most dealerships are frantically trying to reduce their tax burden.  Cha-ching!  When you want to make a big purchase you need to do some research.  Learn everything you can about your purchase and then figure out when the best time to make that purchase will be before striking.  Patience, willingness to make concessions, and an obvious knowledge of what you're doing will make you a force to reckon with!  Don't be afraid to ask for more (or demand a lower price) if you think you can do it.  The worst they could do is say no to you.  

77. Distinguish needs from wants: We all have needs.  We all have wants.  Sometimes these things happen to be the same thing.  Often, they are TOTALLY different!  We need shelter, clothes, food, and drink.  We want toys, entertainment, the latest fashion, and huge houses.  Learn the subtle differences between what you TRULY need to survive and the things you can put off until you're more financially stable.  For example, your mama really WANTS a new front-loading high-efficiency washer and dryer but all she really needs is a washer and dryer that work, which she already has.  Sure, I'm sad about it and I daydream about beautiful shiny new appliances, but we have other needs that come before my wants right now.  Until the current washer and dryer kick the bucket, we will use what we have and be happy with it because there are people out there who are happy with less than what we have so we should be happy with the abundance we've had the opportunity to afford.

76. Manage stress: The key to managing stress is to know thyself.  Learn the little cues your body gives off to let you know that things are getting a bit too much for you and figure out ways to reduce the impact of that stress on your life.  You could take yoga, you could get a massage, you could start saying "no" to things that stress you out, you could do anything that brings you peace of mind.  They key is NOT to let stress ruin your life or your interactions with others in your life.  You have the right to control your reactions to things.  You do NOT have the right to let the stresses in your life bleed over into the lives of others.  Your stresses belong to you and if others empathize and wish to listen or help, that is a kindness they are offering you.  Being snappy with the people you love, who love you and are just trying to help, makes you a bully.  Be in control of yourself and learn to manage things before they get to that point.

75. Accept others for their differences:  You are a beautiful and wonderful human being.  You are full of ideas, thoughts, opinions, hopes and dreams.  You are an individual in everything you do.  You are like no one else and no one else is like you.  That being said, you are not necessarily "right" and they are not necessarily "wrong" if your paths in life do not run parallel to each other.  Differences are beautiful and they are a way for all of us to learn about things that we would never have experienced otherwise.  I have already told you that I won't be disappointed in you unless you fail to try, but I will be disappointed in you if you go through life dismissing the amazing differences, the different cultures, we all hold dear.  I want you to have friends of all races, religions, philosophies, and passions.  Life is boring when we hang out with people who are carbon copies of ourselves.  Broaden your world.  Expand your circle of influence. LEARN!  Stand up for others when you see kids bullying them for being different.  Love and respect those around you for having the courage to be themselves in situations where they may be the only one like them.  You will be blessed for knowing and respecting people from all walks of life.

74. Hold a baby:  I'll be honest with you, I had barely ever been around an infant prior to your birth.  I had MAYBE one or two experiences holding a newborn and when you were born I was terrified of holding you if you weren't wrapped up like a baby burrito!  Dressing you, undressing you... so scary!  Your little head lolled around so much that I was sure I was hurting you!  I really want more for you than that.  I want you to be comfortable around babies so if you choose to have kids you will be a lot more confident than I was.  Expect to do some babysitting in high school!

73. Ask questions:  You will never know the right answers unless you learn to ask the right questions.  Asking questions is VITAL to getting all of the information you need in any situation.  Don't be afraid to seek information.  Sadly, we live in a world that is FULL of information, but people are often encouraged not to delve deeper in their pursuit of information.  We also live in a world full of privacy statements, user agreements, and various other ways you can easily sign away your rights simply because they are written in a way that is nearly impossible for anyone other than a lawyer to understand.  Don't understand something?  Ask someone who does.  Don't know what you're getting yourself into?  Find out before getting yourself into it!  Something doesn't feel quite right?  Ask others what they think (or come ask your mama!)  No one ever asked too many questions about something if they were trying to make a big decision!

72. Speak a second language, especially Spanish: This is one of those "do as I say, not as I do" sort of things because I am not fluent in any other language, myself.  However, I understand the importance of learning to communicate with others and think learning other languages is extremely beneficial.  I have dabbled in a few languages and know a few things in several languages, but actually becoming fluent in a language other than English is a dream I hope to achieve someday.  I would encourage you to take language classes in school as soon as they're offered.  I think it is ridiculous that Americans appear to be against learning other languages.  All over the world it is assumed you will learn your language as well as at least one other one.  The xenophobic nature of Americans when it comes to other languages baffles me.  It also makes us look like idiots.  You can resist that by opening yourself up to another language and the culture which surrounds that language.

71. Lead: Not only do you need to know how to lead when the situation calls for it, you need to learn when to follow when you're not the right person to lead.  Have the wisdom to know when you're the right person for the job and when you're NOT.  Leaders have a lot of responsibility to the people who follow them.  To be a successful leader you must not shirk those responsibilities NOR should you undervalue the people who are looking to you to lead them in the right direction.  Leaders stay leaders because they actually serve well those who appear to serve them.  Leaders who do not serve their followers do not tend to stay leaders. In time you will learn that power structures only work if everyone works together toward a common goal and work for the betterment of all involved instead of just the leader.  

Stay tuned for more!