Today you are seven years old. I need to tell you seven things.
1) The reason why I keep telling you to study is because someday you won’t be able to memorize everything, like you do now. You are smart, this is true… But hard work and perseverance will get you even further in life than being smart.
2) And speaking of perseverance, I want you to know that if a dream is in your heart, you must follow it with perseverance. How do you know what your dreams are? Your dreams are those things you long to do, but haven’t quite done them yet; and you keep feeling a nudge to do them. The nudge never quite goes away. Maybe you are praying about something you want to happen with all your heart, but it hasn’t happened yet. That thing you are praying about and hoping for is a dream. So you must persevere and see it through, even when it hasn’t happened in the timeframe you were hoping for, or even if other people discourage you.
3) Be humble when your dreams do start to come true. The first principal I worked for had a sign in her office which said, “There’s no limit to what you can accomplish when you don’t mind who gets the credit.” In other words, don’t seek attention and credit for everything good you do. You are in competition with no one, and most successful people aren’t worried about what others are doing. They are simply focused on their goals. Good things will happen when you follow your dreams with gratitude in your heart.
4) I know you are sick of me saying how important honesty is. I know when you’re seven, it’s really hard to always tell the truth. You don’t want to get in trouble, and I understand that, but honesty will always lead you down the path of integrity. Integrity is a good thing. It’s a fancy word that adults use for when we are honest to others even when we are afraid of what may happen.
5) Don’t get married until you’re at least 30. Just don’t. Your odds are so much better if you wait. It’s okay to make mistakes in relationships. You will date someone who breaks your heart. When you feel deeply hurt by someone, just remember to let go. Don’t hold on with claw marks. People will come and people will go, and you will learn so much. Every time I had my heart broken by a boy, it taught me so much about what I want and don’t want in a partner. It also helped me develop empathy and character. Each person must go through difficulties so that we understand pain and how to help people in pain.
6) There’s this thing I’m teaching you about called boundaries. I know it doesn’t always make sense to you yet, but it’s something you will grow to understand. When you have created healthy boundaries in your life, you become really good at knowing what is your responsibility and what is not. There are lots of unhealthy people in this world. Some of them won’t like it when you have boundaries, but that’s why you have to trust yourself and know that you are responsible for yourself. You don’t need to do things for others that they should be doing for themselves.
7) I love you to infinity and beyond. I’m always here for you. Even when you think I’m the meanest mom in the universe, please, please know that my love for you is deep.
Happy birthday, my little chickadee.