Friday, May 30, 2014

The 8 Things I'll (Try To) Teach My Daughter

[This post has nothing to do with sports. Deal with it, or click away now.]

Today is my daughter’s second birthday. I have had a pretty great life, blessed with an incredible family, unbelievable friends, and a great wife just to name a few. But, she has to be the best gift I’ve ever gotten.

I figured this was as fitting a day as ever for this post…

A few months back, I read a post by Texans RB Arian Foster on the things he plans to teach his daughter. The first three items below are his (italics), and the rest are mine. If she learns just these things from me, I'll be content.

1. Happiness. This is probably the most cliché virtue on the list but the most pivotal to her success. She needs to understand that "success" is a voyage, not an "x" on a map. I believe strongly that smiles are contagious, so I fill my home with as much laughter as possible. I do this in hopes that this mindset bleeds into her heart.

2. Kindness. It is a virtue that you must have if you are around me. Negative energy sucks the life out of people, and we're here to smile! You must treat people kindly. No one is any better than you are and you are no better than anyone else. We are all doing the best we can to figure out this thing we call life, so humble yourself to the fact that you know very little. I'm no different. I know very little, but I do my best to learn. I've learned things from a man with a PhD, a man who lived under a bridge, and a child. Treat everyone with kindness. It goes a long way. I was taught that people will rarely remember what you tell them, but they will always remember how you made them feel. In that same breath I'll let her know not to let people take advantage of her. Weak people prey on weak people. I'm not into the turning-the-other-cheek business. I firmly believe there are times when people must stand their ground. Pick your battles wisely, but don't initiate any unwarranted hate. 

3. Men and her worth. (loads shotgun) A sore subject for any man with a daughter. There will be a day when I give her away, and they say that a woman spends her life looking for her father in her groom, so until that day I will try to be the example of a man that she eventually will seek out. Men tend to be motivated by one thing. Don't fall victim to a prince charming. If he cares for her, he'll act accordingly. If not (aims shotgun), well, I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

4. Be honest even if no one is watching. Honesty and trust are two of the most difficult things to repair or rebuild. Stay honest at all times, and you won't have to worry.

5. Don't live every day like it's your last but like it will be your best. If I knew my last trip around the sun was coming soon, I would probably do some stupid things, but if I expected every day to be my best, I think I would have a contagious optimism about me, almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Look forward to something every day. Have short term and long term goals that interest you. Find a hobby, find your calling, find something, find many things. Just have something that keeps you motivated and enjoying life daily.

6. How to have a catch. I would be a failure if I couldn’t teach my daughter how to throw and catch. The rest of these are lifelong-type goals, but I'm hoping we can cross this item off the list by the time she’s three.

7. Keep life in perspective. Few things in life are as big a deal as they might seem initially. Break ups, failed tests, rejections, they are all going to happen. Treat them like speed bumps and not walls. Learn from them, and move on.

8. Don't hold grudges. Someone once told me, “you wouldn’t care what other people thought of you if you realized how seldom they do.” There will be people in the world you won't like. It's inevitable, but people who you don't like won't think about you very much so don't waste time thinking about them. It takes a lot of energy to stay mad at someone. Just let it go. That being said, if someone continues to give you a hard time, stick up for yourself (I would also be happy to do it for you).

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