I’ve been thinking a lot about the example I am setting for you as one of the most prominent role models in your life. I’m not talking about how I incessantly ask you to sit still and finish your dinner, or even how I model work ethic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really hoping you don’t dwell on my ugly moments of motherhood (like when I yell way too much as if the volume of my voice is the real issue, or when I fight back the tears as you wipe snot on the last piece of “nice” clothing I have). I’m focused on the bigger picture.
Do I give you examples of compassion? Have I exhibited the value of truth? Do you understand that defending someone who is being treated unjustly is just as important as treating people fairly?
All of these things are important as you develop the tools you will use to navigate this world, and how you remember me when you’re older and after I’m gone means something. So in case I don’t always do a great job showing you, here are a few reminders:
- Use your words. Words are powerful. They can convey kindness, hatred, humor, bigotry, and strength. They have the power to uplift, demean, inspire, incite, empower, hurt, and console. Use your words to speak your mind and to speak up for yourself and others.
- Show love. I’m not saying you should go around hugging everyone you meet, but an open heart goes a long way. Yes, this means sometimes you will feel the pain of inequity or indifference, but I believe it’s a risk worth taking. There is always room for more love.
- Be honest and follow-through. Honesty is tough. Sometimes telling the truth is painful for others and embarrassing for ourselves, but it shows you have integrity. If you can show yourself openly, and do what you say you are going to do, people will trust you. And trust is a magical thing.
- Recognize your own strength. Whether it’s via your words, resiliency or resolve, acknowledge you have what it takes to do anything- you have what it takes to overcome.
Girls, this is really just a cheatsheet list. When all is said and done, I hope my character, my integrity, and my love for you and the world around us will resonate more than anything else. Certainly I have my flaws- you recognize them already as young children, and I apologize now for the day you see my faults with even more clarity as adults. But ultimately, I hope my better qualities will shine through, and I hope you will never be overshadowed by anything.
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