By Melanie Walker
Bombings. Massacres. Political unrest. It’s no secret why a vast majority of young adults are hesitant to bring children in the world. 2016 has thus far manifested a lot of heartache, I can only imagine what the world will be like in ten years. I, too, admit, that I dread the day when I will bring a child into such a terrifying and uncertain world.
However, I remember the things my mother taught me.
My mother always taught me to not only dream big, but to be hopelessly optimistic despite how dark the situation may be. She taught me the value of persistence, patience, and how to look dang pretty while doing it.
Often we forget the value and power behind good parenting. It is no easy path, but if we want to make a difference in the world, we start by choosing to be the absolute best parent we can be to our future children. No matter what way the world shifts, the principles of traditional family structures remain—despite whatever family dynamic you choose or were born into.
Though the future is clouded and the struggles my future daughter will face in such a world fill me with dread, I rest knowing that there is hope. We can make a difference in the world if we prepare our children well.
Here are the five things I would like my future daughter to know:
Dear Future Daughter,
1. Never underestimate the value of kindness
Decide from this moment on that you will be a kind, respectful, and warm individual. Decide to recognize the value of that in other people. We live in a world where sarcasm, criticism, and vanity are the source of humor and interaction. Do not ever think you have to participate. Be warm and tell others what you like about them. We have enough sarcasm; we need more words of affirmation. With so much darkness in the world, we need more light.
2. Get your hands dirty
Play outside—I don’t care how dirty your clothes get. Because the truth is, real women can get a little dusty and also know how to clean up nicely. Get your hands dirty with work, as well. You are not entitled to anything except your basic human rights, despite what politicians tell your age group you deserve. Anything you want in life, you have to work for. Get good grades. Find what you excel at. Don’t expect others to pick up your load for you.
3. Invite every opportunity life presents
Test your sensations and experience all the life has to offer you. Don’t let your fear overcome you. Ride the tallest roller coaster at Six Flags as soon as you’re tall enough. Try out for the cheer or soccer team. Experiment with your hair in high school. Travel in college. Try Flyboarding or jump off a 35-foot cliff. Whatever it is, do things that scare you. Take risks in a world that teaches you to live comfortably and to not shake the boat.
4. Don’t be afraid to stand alone
When the group you are with tries to normalize pornography or the man you are with tells you you’re obligated to do something you are not, don’t be afraid to stand alone. Speak up and walk out Please, please do not stay silent. Find out what you stand for and let no one compromise that. You can make more friends, always. And the real men you want to be with will never make you into something you do not want to be. Recognize the value of solitude.
5. Love hard
Lastly, love. And love hard. Love every person you meet. Learn to accept them. Learn the value of empathy. Do not ever underestimate the power of love—because love is what we stay alive for. Love is why we keep fighting in this crazy world. Do not accept anything less from your relationships than absolute devotion. Because when the winds of life seem too perilous, it’ll be love that will keep you walking on.
And you keep walking, baby girl. Keep walking.