With my 29th birthday looming, I can’t help but reflect on my adolescence that is perpetually fading into the rearview at an alarmingly rapid pace. All the “can you believe it’s already October’s?!” and “Isn’t it crazy the Vancouver Olympics were 9 years ago?!” have all added up, and it’s becoming clear that time really does fly.
I’m not sure if it is inherent in everyone to reflect on their childhood as you approach another decade on earth, but I find myself thinking a lot about my formidable years, specifically all the lessons learned to sculpt the person I am today.
Turns out, my parents were right about most things. Even when I gave them attitude, eye rolls, and furiously stomped my feet, fists balled up beside my waist screaming “UGH IT’S JUST NOT FAIR.” Yeah, pretty sure they were being more than fair.
Looking back, I can see that each teaching moment was laying a foundation to set me up for success later in life. The moments spent in the fetal position with tear soaked eyelashes, the mornings after a bad night of consuming too many glasses of peach growers for my 118 lb frame. Each broken heart, failure, argument, loss.
There are hundreds of little lessons I’ve learned from two of the most important people in my life, but these 18 stand out amongst the rest. They are lessons we could all stand to be reminded of from time to time, especially as our lives march on with no speed bumps to slow us down.
See any similarities from your childhood? Let me know in the comments below, along with any additions that have stuck with you.
18 Things My Parents Were Right About
Kindness and compassion go a long way
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” It is so simple, and yet you look around and see examples of people doing the exact opposite on a regular basis. Be compassionate to those with differing opinions and circumstances than you. Sympathize, seek understanding, and show them kindness. What a world it would be if everyone took this advice to heart.
Bullies are hurting more than you are
I had my fair share of run-ins with bullies growing up. My parents always told me that their words were a reflection of them, their struggles, their pain. I didn’t understand that, because bullies to me were always synonymous with strength and power. I know now, especially with the rise of hateful comments and exchanges on the internet these days, they were 100% right about that.
Hard work trumps talent
“Where there is a will, there is a way.” I can’t tell you how many times my dad has uttered this phrase to my siblings and I. Every time I thought a situation, test, or project was too challenging, he’d remind me of this. I think of this often as I work towards creating a life and business for myself. It won’t be easy, but it will always be worth it.
Get educated and learn constantly
My parents always stressed the importance of an education. They weren’t too concerned with specific schools or subjects, just that we followed our interests and continued to learn and grow. This is a value that has been engrained into everything I do. I am constantly learning and growing, taking courses and asking questions. In a world where YouTube, Skillshare, Udemy and online universities exist, there really is no excuse not to continue your education and develop your skill set.
Patience is a virtue – don’t rush
If comparison is the thief of joy, patience is the catalyst to growth and success. What does love look like without patience? What do your milestones look like if you’ve suffered the whole way wishing they arrived sooner? I replay their words over and over when it comes to slowing down and enjoying life. Which leads me to #6.
Be thankful, always. Appreciate the small things in life.
I believe if my parents had to give us just one piece of advice to take with us, it would be this. To be thankful for what we have. Whether we were causing a scene and needed to smarten up or on vacation standing in awe at the foreign landscapes before us, this invariable reminder was always the same. Just be thankful.
It is physically impossible to be angry while expressing gratitude. Do so often.
“This won’t matter in a few years”
“YAH BUT SHE PUT AN UGLY PICTURE UP OF ME ON HER NEXOPIA FOR EVERYONE TO SEE!!” – me, facing a tragedy I would never recover from in my 16-year-old mind. Spoiler alert: I recovered.
There are so many events in our lives that seem catastrophic as adolescents. Break ups, fights with friends, bad grades, not getting picked for something. Looking back, they were right about each and every one (the ones I can even remember at least).
We still go through these moments as adults, but most of the time we internalize them instead of rushing to our parents in a flood of tears. When you find yourself riddled with anxiety about something, ask yourself “Will this matter in 5 years?” Chances are it won’t matter in 5 months, or even 5 days.
I am forever grateful to my parents for instilling this core value into us at a young age. I can’t even tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people where I recognize the impatience in the back of their throats as they wait for me to stop talking so they can tell me a similar story relating to themselves in some way.
Sometimes, getting quiet speaks greater volumes. All the connections I’ve made and the successes I’ve experienced can be linked back to listening to what other people say, and showing them they are being heard. It is an incredibly powerful tool, and if it’s not something you’ve mastered, do so.
Side note: there is an amazing book called “Quiet”: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. I think it’s an important read for both introverts and extroverts.
Don’t settle in love. You deserve the best.
Sitting around the table at happy hour with girlfriends, there is one thing we can all agree on. We dated some questionnabllleee men (if you can even call them that lol). My parents were really good about letting us arrive at our own decisions without too much intervention. While they may have known people weren’t right for us, as long as we weren’t in harms way, they let us figure relationships out on our own. During and after every relationship, they’d always tell us not to settle. Now that I am madly and happily in love after 6 years with the same man, I can definitively say they were right about this.
“Go with your gut”
This is often one of the hardest things to do when your head and your heart are battling it out UFC style. My parents intuition was always right, and telling us to trust ours was paramount. We are animals with a built in fight or flight sense to protect ourselves from danger. That intuition is always there, sometimes we just have to dig a little deeper to find it.
That [insert person’s name] is bad news
LOL. How many of you have experienced this? And were your parents right? I bet they were. Mine were.
INVEST YOUR MONEY
This one piece of advice from my parents changed my life. I will be forever indebted to them for teaching us the value of investing early in life. I was 15 when I got my first job at Safeway and started putting money into an RRSP every single paycheck. My investments have funded travel, expenses and kept me afloat in my first year of self-employment. I can’t stress this enough. Start investing your money. Like now. I wrote a few articles on this, including How to save money for travel, and 10 Pieces of Financial Advice for Young Adults.
Too bad I didn’t take their advice on this one eh…. 😉 We travelled a lot as kids, packing up the mini van to embark on road trips across the United States. Thanks to our parents, the travel bug caught us all. Just recently, I was in Austin, my sister was in Germany and my brother was in Australia all at the same time. Travel has made us who we are, and I can’t imagine what my life would look like now if I hadn’t taken that extended travel trip after college.
Give more than you receive. Help the less fortunate whenever you can.
This really doesn’t need an explanation. I think everyone can agree that this is truly one of life’s greatest responsibilities and greatest joys. If you are able, give your time or money to those less fortunate.
“You’ll go broke saving money”
Another little financial tip courtesy of my grandfather. Ever gone to a sale and bought something because it was on sale? You would have never purchased it if it wasn’t on sale, but the big shiny red sticker indicating a slashed price caused you to pull out the credit card. Stopping to think about whether you actually NEED something will save you an incredible amount of money. Are you going to use that in a year? If not, pump the brakes on the purchase.
Good manners go a long way
I remember feeling so proud when I would go to a new friends house and their parents would say “you have wonderful manners, Kaylee!” I’d give myself a virtual fist bump. I’m iiiinnn with the ‘rents. Hello sleepovers and organizing our Ty beanie babies by colour and animal (Lol kidding, I didn’t spend my Friday nights doing that……………..).
Good manners are so freakin’ important when it comes to developing relationships and thriving in business.
Care for the environment
Back then, we didn’t even know how much trouble the world would be in, but we knew we needed to do our part. It pains me to see so many people walking around like climate change isn’t a reality. Selfishly going through life unconcerned with how their choices will affect our children, and our children’s children. I was always raised to care for the environment. My dad and sister went vegetarian before I did. We always recycled way more than we threw in the garbage. There is no Planet B. Care for the earth any way you can.
“Ain’t life grand”
A saying my dad speaks often. Life is a gift, and a beautiful one. Enjoy every minute <3