When I imagine a future for Tatum, I dream about a girl with values. No, a lady with values. (I’m training a potential adult, not child) What does this even mean in this society? It seems as though this term has been replaced with wanting one to be happy or healthy. Although being healthy and happy are important, they are not what I desire most for Tatum.
Now, of course most people would never say, “I want my child to grow up to have money, power, fame or status,” yet that seems to be what we value as a society. Fundamentally, we know that none of these lead to happiness, yet they still seem to be solely and “souly” pursued. Sometimes with a vengeance. I do see that the stress we put on our children to be the next big educated or environmentally-correct super hero; we also are so overly health conscious with them (guilty as chard) Sadly, without even trying, these “values” encourage jealousy and resentment. I would also say, extreme unhappiness.
Extreme happiness, I would argue, comes from knowing you have a set of values that are unwavering and grounded. This grounding foundation gives one self-worth and a True North. But how does one achieve these values? Hopefully from parents who teach these values by embodying them.
So, Tatum, this is where I come in and give you the keys to happiness and a long, prosperous life. Your quality of life is based on your values. The “fruit” comes from building on them with help from above. Wow, what a happy life awaits you as you live these.
1. Worship God and only God (not self nor anyone/thing else): Jesus was even asked which commandment was key, and He said, “The most important one is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:28-30)
Putting her faith in God and loving Him will define who she is. She will appeal to His authority which will guide her life with Love and Truth.
2. Respect Everyone. Jesus wants us to “Love [our] neighbor as [our]self.” He made it evident that we should extend our love to all people of the world, regardless of race, religion, nationality or any other artificial distinction.
Sometimes, she will be disrespected, disregarded, rejected and hurt. However, how she handles it (or reacts to it) and how she treats the “other” is what matters. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Can we say “Yes” to the question, “Would I want that said or done to me?”
3. Stay humble.This quality of being humble is respecting others. This is the opposite of having “high” self-esteem, which is the focus of today’s parent. The prisons are filled with people who have high self-esteem; they believe the world revolves around them, they feel “entitled” and they say they are the victims of attack. Instead, having a healthy self-worth affirms also the worth of others and it allows us to see the dignity and worth of all people.
It will be easy for Tatum to become haughty because so many adore her. Her task will be to have quiet strength; to fail with grace; to love in light of potential rejection.
4. Be honest. Without your word, you are nothing. Integrity takes time to develop, yet can take a millisecond to lose. So, what does it really mean when one says to be honest? It’s a pretty black and white issue, and I imagine that it is about being true to self (and ultimately God). This means constantly keeping a check with motives. Many times things are said or done to protect ourselves;
perhaps the same to protect another. But I will argue and teach Tatum that she needs to be able to stand at Jesus’ feet, look Him in the eye, and know she is 100% OK with her decisions, speech, behavior, and even her heart (motives). This means for me, my word to her is my bond. My yes is yes and my no is no.
(Being honest means being your true (sometimes silly) self! 🙂 )
5. Practice what you preach; don’t be a hypocrite. This means you walk the walk and talk the talk. Be real. Can one look at your daily life (even when nobody is looking) and see you are who you portray yourself to be? Jesus could not stand the Pharisees, for He saw they were all about “the show”; the image; the flashiness of spirituality. She may not always “feel” spiritual or happy or whatever the moment calls for, but she owes the world a smile, respect and love even when it is hard. That also leads to not ever being “self-righteous” like she knows it all and others don’t. That is the first way to turn people away. Attract, don’t deter people!
6. Be kind. (this means generosity also with self, time and money). This takes wisdom and maturity to develop. Many times she will put herself out there with a friendship or with her investment of time into a person and be let down. Her kindness and love should prevail in light of that. I say err on the side of mercy rather that cynicism. Also, things are just that. Things. Hold them loosely. Moreover, her ability to give of her time to important causes/people/needs and her ability to give her funds as needed will teach her that this is the answer to depression. Giving. It’s kindness with a hand.
7. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive! God is merciful and forgives us whenever we fail or fall short. We must also be able to SEE that we did fail and take ownership of our mistakes. He forgives. Do we do the same for others? In the same way, we must be merciful and forgive other people who sin against us or do us harm. This does not mean she becomes a doormat, but a woman with a heart for others; praying for them but not allowing them to continue to do the same over again. She will become wise as a serpent (in who she can be close to) and gentle as a dove in dealing with the wrongdoings of others.
(so she doesn’t have to crawl into the cage and be pent up 🙂She must ask for forgiveness and forgive others as well ( I also will ask for her forgiveness as I will mess up many times)
8. Be Grateful. Don’t whine, complain, be disenchanted with what you have or do not have. Be thankful, for you have everything. You have life. You have life with your loving Father who will protect you even when it doesn’t feel like it. Gratitude is an attitude. Develop it.
There are many more, but these values I see will build in her a strong foundation as they develop her as a lovely young lady. I can only pray for wisdom in guiding her.