12 Things I Want My Children to Know
As a 36-year-old mom to two amazing daughters, I have come to realize that there are some things that I wish I had been told as I approached and entered the turmoil of adolescence. Although I can’t say for certain that any of it would have made a difference to me then; all I can do now is hope that these small insights provide them with some level of support on their journey:

12 things I want my children to know, believe and apply:

1. You are responsible for your own life.  

I may try to guide, mold and yes, at times control you; forgive me, knowing that I only have your best interests at heart and what I believe to be true may not be the best thing for you – remember, I too am working at applying this list. You are the pilot of your plane, the captain of your vessel – you alone will weather the storms and enjoy the sunny skies. You alone will embrace or shy away from each dawn and each setting sun.  With the taking of responsibility comes strength and power. Know, believe and live each day firm in the knowledge that you and you alone are responsible for your thoughts, words and actions and they carry immense power and impact. Take responsibility and choose wisely.

2. Moving outside of your comfort zone will bring you joy and success.  

Life is not designed to be comfortable for any amount of time; if you can know, believe and apply this truth, you will find much more joy and far less suffering.  Push your limits, question and face your fears, challenge your beliefs and know: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." - Neale Donald Walsch.

3. Let go of the status quo.  

If you allow kindness to guide you, you need not worry about going against the grain – just because everyone is doing something does not make it the right thing to be doing.  Find confidence in your uniqueness, your own authentic expression of self, rather than in your ability to conform.  Look around you at where the status quo has brought us – war, violence, mental health issues and environmental devastation surrounds us. Follow your heart, be brave, strive to do the right thing, rather than the popular thing. 

4. School isn’t as much about English, Science and Math, as it is about witnessing and experiencing a wonderful, devastating, chaotic, coming of age social experiment.  

Don’t get me wrong – your classes & education are important, knowledge is power.  All that I’m saying is that you will gain more life skills outside of the classroom – building strong communication skills and observing how people relate to one another is crucial, this is knowledge that will be applied throughout your life, every day.  Developing your people skills, social skills and intuition will take you just as far, if not farther than anything you take from a text book. And always remember, avoid judging someone based on what’s in their lunch – sometimes parents can be a drag.

5. Keeping a journal will ignite your creativity; help you heal a broken heart and record the moments that so quickly slip between the wispy memories stored in your mind.  

Write down what moves you, doodle, and draw, find an outlet for your thoughts, ideas and experiences.   This just might be the best form of therapy that you’ll ever find… and it’s free.

6. Friendships are important, build them. Nurture them. 

Surround yourself with people that build you up, rather than put you down. Ensure that those with whom you choose to spend your time are worthy of you; their words, their actions, their values. Know, believe and apply this and you will be supported through all of the adversity, the struggles and the life lessons that will appear on your path.  
 
7. Respectfully decline holding space for Naysayers.  

There will always be people that find fault in you, in their own circumstances, in life in general.  Encourage positivity. Avoid negativity. Focus and spend your energy on positive thoughts and actions. Like attracts like – know, believe, apply. 

8. Sometimes it’s better to just eat the lemon, rather than waste your time making lemonade.  

Often, it is the stuff that doesn’t taste so great that is the best thing for you. Life will continually present you with challenges; these are intended to help you grow, to shine, to find yourself.  Eat the lemon knowing and believing in the fact that although you can’t see it happening, it is providing healing and cultivation.

9. Keep your mind wide open. 

There are not two people in the world who see things in exactly the same way. Be open to new ideas, beliefs, and perspectives. There is something to be learned from everyone that you meet, from each and every situation in which you find yourself.  You can never know what journey another individual is on; avoid judgement – stay open.
 
10. The more you give, the more you get.  

It is through the giving that you open yourself up to fully receive. When you share your things, your time, your talents with others you will feel a light ignite, warming you up from the inside out. Shine that light. 
 
11. The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with you; honor yourself and your body. 

The foundation of all relationships is respect.  A foundation of respect provides fertile soil out of which a mighty oak may grow.Without respect, nothing healthy is able to take root. By honoring yourself and your body, recognizing the beauty within and the possibilities available to you, you will ensure that you only allow for relationships that foster your passions and your true self.  The ones, which allow you plenty of room to grow, while still supporting you and sheltering you from the storms.

12. Follow your bliss.

Take the time to discover what it is that makes you feel alive, what stirs your soul and then follow… find your currency in this, rather than dollars – money does not create happiness; doing what you love, what allows for your authentic self to shine – this is what will fulfill you. This is not to say that it will be an easy road; however, the adversity that you face will be far less foreboding and threatening when you know, believe in and follow your bliss.

And through it all have fun, laugh, shine and live big. And always, always know that I love and support you in all that you chose to do. My heart swells with love and gratitude for you and all of the possibilities that lie before you. 

Namaste.
 
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About the Author

Cat O'Connor is inspired by yoga, surf & all experiences that nourish the body, mind & spirit. As a RYT500, SUP Yoga teacher, SURFSET Ambassador & Whole Food Wellness Educator with a beautiful studio in Orillia, ON Nourish Yoga & Wellness Studio, Cat is beyond grateful to be able to share her life passions with others with the intention of bringing yoga and a higher level of happiness to as many people as possible. She currently works with some of the incredible people at Free People and Lululemon Athletica who are helping her bring nourishment, yoga & surf to the people! At the end of the day, it's all yoga, baby! Be well. Live big. Love bigger. Namaste

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