I started thinking the other day about some of the things that I did as a teenager. Some of them were good… some of them were bad. And so I wondered, Bug’s world is vastly different than the one I grew up in, I wonder if he’s going to do these things. I mean, there’s the Internet, Cell phones, and email which makes going anywhere or doing anything pretty attainable without even leaving the house.
That’s not what I want for my kids. I think that in order to live, they must… actually LIVE.
I came up with a list of things that I’d love to see my kids do before they become an adult (by adult, I mean settled down, career, children, bills, etc. Because as you all know, just because you’re 18, does not mean you’re and adult).
Write a love letter. I don’t mean in the cell phone either. I’m talking about a “you mean the world to me, I can’t imagine my life without you” letter. I want it to be the kind of letter that the receiver will read over and over until the paper is worn and the ink is smeared and faded. Everyone should write one, everyone should get one. I still have a few love letters from their dad. It’s a trip in time to read them today and see where we were and how far we’ve come. I hope my children get to do the same.
Chase a dream. This can be any dream, whether the dream helps jump start their career, or try something new; there is nothing like a dream chased down and caught. There is nothing more wonderful than the feeling of “I did it!” or the adrenaline of seeing your dream come to life. It’s a breathtaking feeling that is hard to replace.
Take a road trip. Pack a couple of friends in the car and set out for a destination. I remember driving to Wisconsin to take my cousin home one year, though my dad was in a different car following me; it felt so freeing and grown up to have the open road in front of me. My cousin, little sister, I sang to the radio, laughed at people going by, and talked endlessly. Besides, once you’re a mom with kids and bathroom breaks and toys strewn throughout the car, road trips lose their appeal. Everyone should do it while they’re young and free and can experience the freedom that comes with traveling on your own (and not in charge of other little people).
Have a broken heart. Why would I want my kids to get their hearts broken you ask? Because I want them know what losing love feels like. It hurts you deep down into your toes. It feels like the world has swallowed you up and spit you back out only to swallow you back up again. This is as close as it gets to having your heart burst and ripped apart all at the same time without it physically happening. It’s agonizing and painful. A broken heart runs you through every emotion imaginable; hurt, anger, denial, and when you come back out the other side; relief and awakening. Once you know you’ve loved someone that you can’t imagine your world without them, you also learn that your life will go on and you come out smarter, more whole than you were before.
Get lost. Don’t laugh, getting lost, whether it was while I was driving somewhere or just in a new place, taught me how to ask for help from total strangers, trust that they knew the right answer and worry a little all at the same time. I learned how to control frustration (no one likes getting lost), be humble (you will have to ask for directions, if you want to get to where you’re going), and accept that you don’t know everything (otherwise you would not have gotten lost). I realize that this may be hard for my kids to do when they get older since everything including the microwave oven will likely have GPS in it, but I’m hopeful that technology will somehow fail. Just. That. Once.
There you go, 5 things I want my kids to experience before life hands them debt, careers, and kids. These are the things I loved and hated experiencing all at the same time.
What do you want your children to experience?