Friday, April 19, 2013

5 Things that Actually Matter

I usually try to keep things light on my blog. Lots of my posts are geared towards clothes or jewelry or the "latest" this and that (or food, but that's a different issue entirely).

I love fashion. I can talk shoes and bags with the best of them. I have a crush on braids and beach waves lately, and I love to talk about nail polish. I love fashion magazines, and men like Steve Madden, Michael Kors, Vince Camuto and Stuart Weitzman have my heart. And I'd consider selling my soul for Chanel earrings.

But honestly?

That crap doesn't mean a thing.

In light of a lot of recent tragedies around the country, a few broken hearts close to home, and the innocence lost in the eyes of not only my children, but so many others around the world because of senseless acts of hate, I think it's time to make another list.

This list will be different than my usual lists.

It's time to talk about what really matters.

1. People
This is my family:

My children are the greatest blessing in my life. I worry about them incessantly.
This is my handsome Landon-boy:

Landon is good and kind. Those are traits I admire in him so much. I want to keep him safe and also teach him to be strong. I want him to understand what strength there is in being gentle towards his mommy and sister, and also how to protect and watch over people smaller than him.
When we walk across the street, he holds my hand and tells me "Watch for cars mom. I'll protect you." When we are walking through snow, he tells me, "Walk in my footprints, mommy." He is full of "I love you"'s and "You're the best, mom!" When I ask him to do his chores, he responds with, "You got it, mom!"

This is my beautiful Ellie-girl:

She is strong and lovely, all at once. I hold her and she touches my earrings so softly and says, "Oooh, pretty mamma." She is smart! She's 18 months old, but she knows that as soon as pajamas go on, it's time to brush "teef". I want to teach her the difference between confidence and arrogance. I want to teach her that she is beautiful, and it's okay to know you're beautiful. I want her to know that pretending to be dumb for attention is never pretty, that grace is more than just the way you move, but it is a part of character. I want to teach her that being a woman is an honor. That it's okay to dress up, wear gorgeous clothes, have fun with her makeup and get bit by the shopping bug every once in a while--but that she ought to feel just as beautiful in her pajamas with a clean face. Because she's pretty because of who she is, not what she wears. That stuff...? That's just for fun.

Aside from just my children, children in general are growing up too quickly. A nine year old can buy a padded bra, for hell's sake. There are groups that teach, from the time they're big enough to hold a gun, how to kill. Let's slow it down, yes? They'll never get those times back where it's okay to be just a kid. I have big issues with adults who allow children to be around and deal with adult issues. Sure, sometimes it can't be avoided. But when it can, let's remember: children are not tools. Children are not pawns. Children are not adults. Children are children. It's very simple.

And I'm blessed, because my friends are many. Some of my very best friends in the world are my family. Some I rarely see. Some I work with every day. But my friends are important to me. I know that if I can show my kids how to be good friends, they'll make good choices when it comes to picking their friends...

2. Honesty
It's so hard to tell the truth sometimes. Trust me, I know. But one thing I have learned is that the truth always comes out. Own it. Accept it. Learn from it. Be better for it. You can run from the truth, yes. But the truth will always catch up with you, and outrun you. You will never win, and you will never beat it. Just.Tell.The.Truth.

The hard part of this comes in when you're not sure what is your place to tell, and what isn't. I understand what a personal moral compass is, and that sometimes, when you know things, telling others about them in the name of honesty is really just stirring the pot and gossiping with a mask of integrity on. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not play that game.

3. Kindness
I want to teach my children to be kind. I want to learn to walk that fine, almost invisible line between strength and unkindness. We live in a world where it's hard to be considered strong or independent without being considered rude. I will own that I am often at fault for this. I say what I think, and I have stuck my foot in my mouth more times than I care to count.
But I also have an issue, when people mistake kindness for a lack of strength. Just because someone doesn't always have the heart to talk back, doesn't mean that they don't have a brain. Just a thought.

4. Tolerance
Tolerance matters. My children are going to encounter people around them, all the time, who are different. They live differently. They talk differently. They look differently. They believe differently. Being able to tolerate them for that makes you a good person. But I believe that being able to love them for that makes you a great person.

5. Learning
I'm not talking about just in school, although I know that my education and my degree will benefit me and get me places. But I'm talking about culture, and art, and books, and music, and other kinds of people, and other kinds of beliefs, and other kids of everything. The only things I plan on taking with me when I die are my family and what's in my brain. I want my children to be able to recognize a painting, reference a novel, understand a song, etc.-not just because it's famous or beautiful or interesting, but because God gave someone the talent to do that, and appreciating what someone else is good at won't take away from the talents that we have. As a society, there seems to be a hesitance to appreciate what others can do, for fear of lessening our own value. And art, literature, music-those aren't the only things by which to measure levels of learning. I want my kids to be able to change a tire, take care of a garden (I may or may not watch from the sidelines. Kidding. Okay, not kidding.), know how to properly scrub a bathtub, load the dishwasher, and learn what manners are...

All of the "things" that I love are just little things that make me happy. I look down at bright pink fingernail polish, and I smile. I buy new shoes, and I have fun and feel confident the next day. You get my point. But when it comes down to basics, that stuff is just for fun.

So when I post, and talk, and rave about how much I love something that is, well, trivial. Remember this: I know the difference. And I pray that my children will, too.



Trisha said...

Love this. Great blog post and well written! Your kids are adorable...I can't wait to have Landon come to preschool:)

Krisha Deaver said...

Amen, sister. I mean, niece.