In all my 21 years, I've learned a LOT of great things from my folks, but the following 7 important life lessons haven't ever faded away...
BE HONEST ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE
I truly believe a person's inner nature is judged based on their level of honesty and as I've always said, "Honesty is the only policy." Although I don't think my parents ever explicitly told me to be honest above everything else, their honesty set an excellent example and I picked it up early on.
EVERYBODY IS EQUAL--LOVE OTHERS
My folks always surrounded me with their friends who came from all walks of life and encouraged me to love and accept everyone based on the idea that everybody is equal--duh! This value of equality and justice came to me early on and transformed into a very full early life of advocacy and activism work.
A GOOD LAUGH IS THE BEST MEDICINE
When you have a bad day, a good laugh can work wonders. Laughter is what has kept me going and encouraged me when I had the poorest of days. Being able to laugh at yourself and the situations of life is SO important.
BUT SOMETIMES MEDICINE IS ACTUALLY THE BEST MEDICINE
Well, most of the time a laugh can cure anything. In the instances where medicine really is in fact the best medicine, it's very necessary to take care of yourself. I've never been the type who didn't go to the doctor and denied everything that was wrong with them, and I've always been the first to run to therapy when I acknowledged I had a problem. Mental and physical health are your lifelines--don't take them for granted!
GO AFTER YOUR DREAMS--YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO
Yes, it can be scary to follow after your dreams especially when you aren't sure where they'll take you, but it's worth the struggle and the lesson along the way. I believe in the saying along the lines of: "Find what you love and do that, for you will never work a day in your life."
SPEAK YOUR MIND
Have an opinion about the topics you are educated on, and stay open-minded to those that you might not know that much about. One of the most important takeaways from this lesson is the notion that females have intelligence too and have equal say as men. My folks were big believers in speaking your mind no matter who you are and raised their daughter to be a strong-willed, independent female.
FIND YOUR OWN PATH
The most valuable lesson I learned from my parents and the one I will never forget is this: no matter what we tell you, find your own path. My folks have a vast amount of wisdom and I always listen to their two cents, however, at the end of the day you have to go with your gut and make your own decisions based on your experiences. My parents were supportive of me figuring out who I was on my own--what religion I wanted to believe in (if any), what political leanings I chose and what greater identity I claimed. They gave me this freedom with such grace.
Although we own our many differences, my parents have provided me with a beautiful life and were always there to give a helping hand through whatever trial I found myself in. I can't wait to see what I'll learn from them in the next 21 years. Love you, mom + dad!
What did you learn from your parents?