We’d do well to listen to the life advice we give our kiddos

Story by Sammi Johnson

Don’t worry, be happy.

You can do anything you put your mind to.

You can do it.

Don’t worry about what other people think.

These are the somewhat cliché sayings we’ve told and continue to tell our littles day in and day out. They roll off the tongue easily, but I do think the actual words carry a punch. It’s these snippets of advice I hope they hear, but more importantly that they actually believe and act accordingly.

These are codes for my adult life now, actually.

For example, when the frustration mounts after the 20th bike wreck sans training wheels begins to unravel a little boy and I get nervous that it will tip him over to never wanting to bike again, we reassure with … You can do it.

When our daughter’s entire mood shifts due to the realization that her two favorite shorts are dirty and she is forced to choose a different pair (gasp!), I play and actively sing along to … Don’t worry, be happy.

When the hand-drawn Star Wars replica of Darth Vader leads to scribbles and crumbled papers accompanied by heavy sighs because it wasn’t perfect, we announce … You can do anything you put your mind to. Just try again.

When we’re telling our 7-year-old daughter that others aren’t judging her, or making fun of her, or even noticing her new, hot-pink hearing aids, I plead … Don’t worry about what other people think.

Those simple sayings are so true even as a grown adult. It hurts to admit how much I need to remind myself of them. I know I need to truly embody them for the lessons to actually stick to my little observant sponges of children. It can’t just be lip service, but truly authentic beliefs.

That is a crushing amount of responsibility.

I’ve been there, too many times to count, where I didn’t think I could do it, I wasn’t good enough and I wanted to give up and might have. I’ve thrown away many non-perfect papers, got bucked off and didn’t get back on. Too many times I’ve let what others might think dictate what I do.

Too. Many. Times.

I’ve also breathed shaky breathes into places I thought were airless vacuums. I’ve found my footing out of tangled messes. I’ve learned big lessons in small everyday occurrences, forgiven others and forgiven myself. I’ve led teams, my family and myself in big thinking and turned daydreams into realities. I’ve surrounded myself with those who uplift me, and I, in turn, uplift them.

I get judged and decide not to care.

I make mistakes but still hold my head high.

I am beautiful, first on the inside.

It’s only in this space can I really say with conviction to them:

You are perfect the way you are.

You can do anything you put your mind to.

Don’t worry, be happy.

It makes me proud when my son can easily and proudly sport his favorite new hairdo (rat tail included). It makes me proud to see my daughter get comfortable in her own skin and wear her hair back, not caring who sees her hearing aides. I sigh a big breath of relief when I see grit and determination seethe through the frustration as our son pedals down the driveway.

I love when we run out of paper to draw on, even though most of it ends up in a pile on the floor. I appreciate how proud they are to get dressed, take care of their own things and find happiness and funniness in each day. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what it takes.

Thanks for the reminder, my little people. I see what you’re doing there.

Sammi is a mother, wife and businesswoman. Contact her at sammi@flatheadbeacon.com.