Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Friday, October 22, 2010 my 13 year old self.

One of my most favorite blogs, Enjoying the Small Things, completely inspired me today. That comes as no great surprise. It is one of my favorite blogs to follow- Kelle Hampton is a fellow mom who holds a very similar outlook on life as me. Today she was writing about words she would tell her 13-year old self if given the chance. Words of wisdom, if you will, in honor of Dove's self-esteem weekend. After reading Kelle's version I was inspired to think through what I would have liked to tell myself at 13.

After thinking about it for awhile I realized that what I needed to hear at 13 is the same as what I need to be reminded of today, every day, at 26. 

I think it's also worth noting that while this weekend's self-esteem campaign is directed towards women and girls, I don't see those lines separating how we are to build self esteem in our sons versus our daughters. I would (and will and do) instill these same 4 pieces of advice to Jackson. I think the differences lie in how we communicate and share the advice. It may very well vary between boys and girls, but I would argue that it varies more child by child, independent of gender.

There are a lot of things, really, that I could include in this list, but I have boiled it down to the Big 4: 

First, be confident in who you are. I have always had this continuous fear of being wrong- of speaking up and someone correcting me and in turn I look stupid. I have always questioned my ideas, points of view, opinions... and in turn a lot of times (especially at 13) ended up keeping quiet, when really they were actually probably some pretty good ideas. I've gotten better at this over the years, especially in my personal life (and especially by exercising this confidence through my writing), but there are still way too many days at work when I don't speak up enough for the fear of failure holds me back. For my first 2 years at P&G my biggest "opportunity" area according to my management was always that I needed to be more assertive. Assertiveness stems from confidence and "be more confident" is generic advice, really, because clearly those of us lacking it would love to have more of it, but it doesn't just come along like that. Most of us, especially those of us who are perfectionists, feel we need to earn it and most of the time we just don't feel like we deserve it. But, I do deserve to be confident in me. Just like I deserved it at 13 and just like I'll deserve it at 95. I am realizing that you can feel secure in having complete confidence as long as you are being your authentic self. Because nobody can tell you you're wrong when you're just being you. I hope I can help all of my children realize this much earlier than 13 and surely much earlier than 26. 

Second, dream big. This one I'm pretty good at. Dan and I both are. We dream big a lot. No dream is too big. I think most 13 year old also do this very well... but the trick is to not stop- ever. Never, ever stop dreaming and certainly never stop believing in your dreams. 

Third, work hard. Whatsoever you do, do with all of your heart. So, whether you're taking out the garbage or giving an important speech, practicing basketball or doing homework... give it your best effort. Work hard every day. Never give up. Never get lazy. Never lay a burden on someone else due to lack of effort on your part. And hopefully, more often than not, you will be working hard at making all of those dreams that you have been dreaming come true. 

Lastly, and most importantly, hold true to your values. You must always, always hold true to your values. Your values are those guiding principles that never change. They are your moral compass- those things that you know in your heart are right. That way of living that is 100% in line with the way Jesus lived. Never stray from those. Each stage of life will test different values- but it is up to you and you alone to always stand strong and never give in to the pressure you will face. 


  1. So glad you shared this... the things I would tell my 13 year old self are pretty specific!


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