Wow you’re turning 1! God- where did that year go? During this 1st year- you’ve taught us a love we never imagined possible. You’ve had us crying with laughter and doing silly things to make you smile. I wanted to write you this letter as a guide for you as you go through life’s trials but also the happy highs and also a few lessons I learned which will help you make the most of life. So here goes:
- Always Be Kind- Especially When Tested. Before you were born, when I was heavily pregnant, your dad and I were talking about what one quality we wanted you to have, and we agreed on kindness as the most important thing. Be kind to people Kian. Be that kid in school who isn’t afraid to stand up against the masses, for someone being treated unfairly.
- You may not always know what you want to do- but be very clear on the man you want to become. What you do for a living will change, but the person you fundamentally are, won’t. That’s your asset- not what you have.
- At times, people may test your patience and treat you badly. Ignore them and don’t be unkind back. The people who crave your reaction, are emotionally struggling. At the same time, don’t ever be afraid to stand up for yourself and express where you draw the line.
- People spend so much time trying to fit in- it perplexes me. They key is to firstly be yourself (people know when someone isn’t being authentic) and don’t be afraid to be untraditional – it’s endearing and memorable!
- Show empathy and compassion, my love. It makes you truly see humans. Train your mind to see things from someone else’s point of view. This helps your mind to grow and appreciate people.
- Disarm people with kindness. I’ve seen so many instances where people have tried to exert control by being tough to put people in their place. This achieves nothing. Disarm people with kindness- this way they warm to you, they open up and they let you in. Kindness is the ultimate power.
- In my work, I speak to students all the time who talk to me about the Catch 22 of not being able to find a job due to lack of experience, and not being able to get the experience due to lack of jobs. Here’s the key: Volunteer when you’re young! Growing up you’ll be time-rich! Use it wisely by investing in your future – have fun and volunteer in your community. This will add to your experience, making you attractive to employers but will most importantly allow you to make a difference, which feeds the soul.
- As your mother, of course I want you to do the best you can do and get top grades if that’s your ability. But don’t be pressured or feel the need to accept that this is the only way to be successful. It isn’t! It’s your responsibility to find your individual path to success- that can be through the route of education or not. Makes no difference, as long as the outcome is your happiness- but do your talents, potential and ability to impact on the world, justice.
- Always be present and keen to learn. Never be the kid who shrugs his shoulders and says “I’m not bothered” or “don’t know”. Be present and put in and in return you’ll learn, get out and make an impact. That’s the difference between success and failure.
- If you witness injustice and unkindness – stand up against it and speak out. People who watch out of fear of being shot down or embarrassed are as guilty. Change is created by people saying that we will not accept status quo.
- Never be afraid to ask questions! Do it with conviction and don’t apologise for it. I can bet you that 98% of people in the room were thinking the same thing! It’s better to understand something fully, that way you can make an intelligent remark or take an informed stance.
- Spend time with people not your own age and from different cultures. This will expand your understanding of people.
- People will hurt you and betray you at times – it’s ok. Let it go and cleanse your soul of the anger. It isn’t worth it. And surprise them by forgiving them if they ever ask for your understanding. This will teach them a much better lesson than revenge, which is for the weak.
- No matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. Don’t live for acceptance of others- be so strong on what you are and aren’t that your moral compass is set no matter the weather.
- Don’t ever belittle someone as a mark of your greatness or strength. I would rather you blow your own trumpet and rely on what you bring to the table than for you to make someone look small in order to make yourself look big.
- Jealousy isn’t good for the soul- but it’s a natural and human feeling sometimes, but turn your sense of jealousy into a positive inspiration to fuel you to also achieve, and surround yourself with people you can learn from.
- Talk to strangers! They are human! Some of the most important conversations I have had and the most important people in my life, I met in the most random of places (like trains and airports) by just speaking to strangers. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone- life’s most valuable lessons are learned this way.
- Travel when you can and seek nourishment of the soul through people living differently – to add to your wide perception of the world – it’s worth gold.
- Choose a partner who makes you excited to come home to them. Someone you can’t wait to tell your stories to. Someone whose heart is pure. Mere beauty to the eye, fades.
- Never allow anyone in society to become invisible to you. Whether waiters or cleaners or Member of Parliament – everyone is important. Give them the same respect and really see them. Making people feel good is an important gift.
- Live for happiness. Isn’t that why we work and try to make the world better, to make others and ourselves happy? Enjoy being young (it all passes so quickly), make sure you really live, my angel! Happiness isn’t a fact, it’s a perception. If you choose to have a good experience and be happy, then you’re happy! Simple!
- Your circumstances never determine your reality- your mindset does. That’s in your control.
- Give of your energy to people. When you’re in the room, let people feel a positive energy that makes them feel valued and good about themselves. People will forget the words you said to them and the details will fade over time, but people will never, ever forget how you made them feel.
Kian, I want you to grow up being free to dream, to be in denial a little about the barriers, which the world sometimes places on you and create your own reality. I’ll be here to support you, hold your hand for as long as you want me to, but ultimately I want you to understand that you need to work hard for what you want in life and be independent.
There’s so much in life to enjoy, so many experiences! I want you to say yes to things, show up, enjoy it and learn! Learn about life but also about yourself. Experience is the greatest teacher. Mummy’s here to Love you angel, but I’ll be watching from the sidelines, cheering you when you’re ready to fly solo.
Know that I Love you, more than the air I breathe.
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