Getting out of the house to school in the morning with three kids is a challenge. “Come down here. Is that shirt clean? Did you eat breakfast? You forgot your lunch!” But once we climb into the van, there is a tradition I began years ago that carries on. I start some sentences that they finish or questions that they answer.
“Believe in…” “Yourself!”
“Try your…” “Best!”
“Choose your friends…” “Wisely!”
“Does everyone know that they are strong, kind and important?” “Yes!”
“Does everyone know that I love them?” “Yes!”
“Does everyone know that everyone makes mistakes but how you act after a mistake can make it better or worse?” “Yes!”
“Does everyone know that the adults are in charge and we need to respect them?” “Yes!”
“Does everyone know that you should be yourself and find your tribe?” “Yes!”
And then we drive on. Listening to the radio. Or to my oldest playing the ukulele. Sometimes we chat.
We pull into the Kiss ‘n Ride at the school, and they jump out onto the sidewalk like little Navy Seals. As I watch them run (or saunter) towards their friends my heart always breaks a little bit. Will they make the right decisions? Will they be leaders or will they follow the pack? Will they be able to accept failure and learn from it? Will they listen? Will they hear? But most important, will they stay true to themselves in a world that can be tough and judgmental? Will they know that they are awesome just the way they are? Will they keep that curiosity and passion for new ideas even when time whispers that they might as well just settle for mediocrity?
It’s out of my hands. But I hope they remember those morning car rides and know that life is beautiful and they can do anything they want with it.
Most of us have heard about the three Wise Men and their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But the way the story was explained to me this weekend really got me thinking.
Why did the Wise Men choose these gifts and what do they mean? The storyteller told me that gold is symbolic of love, which is the thing we are all seeking to give and to receive. As Lao Tzu once said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
Frankincense is symbolic of our talents and what we have to offer the world. Each of us is completely unique with skills that are one-of-a-kind. Using those abilities, and being who we truly are, is the ultimate success. As Madeleine L’Engle once said, “We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”
And myrrh is symbolic of our struggles and our pain. We all have things in life that break us down. But it’s the rising when we fall. The lessons that we learn. As Khalil Gibran once said, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
So those three Wise Men really were quite wise. They brought the gifts of love, talent and struggle. All of which are key to happiness in life. If we love ourselves and those around us, use our unique skills to make a difference in the world, remember to see the light at the end of the tunnel and learn from our hardships, we are on our way.
These are gifts we all have. Will we use them today?
We all have New Year’s resolutions. Mine has been about 16 years in the making.
I have always wanted to publish my writing, and made a goal of getting 100 rejection letters for some children’s book manuscripts in the year 2000 (because Dr. Seuss got 43 rejections for his first story). After 35 rejection letters, I decided to go the blog-route as per the ways of the new world. My blog is called The Treasure You Seek (thetreasureyouseek.blogspot.ca).
I plan to share some tidbits weekly with hopes to inspire others to make that first step, take a risk, and basically be the change. One of my favourite quotes is when Joseph Campbell said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” And one of my most beloved books is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho which shares the premise that you have all you need in your own backyard. Although it might take a global journey to figure it out.
Here’s to leaving comfort zones, saying what you mean to say, standing up for what’s right and following your heart. Walk through the fear people. Because the thing about failure is that it is always the step before success. If you don’t believe me, check out the back story on Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Barack Obama and the list goes on.
This is your year. Grab it and don’t look back.