My daughters are a little young yet for deep, life-changing conversations. They still listen to Radio Disney and play with WebKinz. And I am thankful for that.
Sometimes, though, I am overcome with an urgency to tell them things. Things that perhaps will protect them from the hurt of the world. Things that will keep them safe.
How much do you think kids really hear when we talk to them about strangers and danger? Some studies suggest that no matter how many times you have the "stranger danger" discussion, kids still go help people find lost puppies.
There are some things I would tell them, if I could.
I would tell them not to grow up too quickly. You will be a grown up before you know it. You will have responsibilities. You will have to work. And you will never get to be a kid again. It will be gone. Take your time, for Pete's sake.
I would tell them to think before they speak. Every thought that pops into your head does not necessarily need to be spoken. Ask yourself, "Is what I'm about to say helpful or hurtful?" If it will keep you from harm, then SHOUT it. If it will harm another, whisper it - to yourself.
I would tell them that most of the time it is better to be kind than to be right. Pointing out other people's errors does nothing but build walls between you. It embarrasses them and makes you look mean-spirited. Those walls are hard to bring down.
I would tell them to tell the truth. And I would tell them that there are lots of ways to tell the truth - rude ways, mean ways, cruel ways, tender ways, gentle ways, compassionate ways... I would beg them to practice the tender, gentle, compassionate ways.
I would tell them that when they take that huge leap into sexuality, that I hope it is totally consensual and that they have put some thought behind the decision. I hope that the object of their affection loves them and cherishes them and respects them and puts them first. I hope that they are treated like the princesses they are, that they are placed on pedestals.
I would tell them that women and men are vastly different creatures when it comes to relationships. I would remind them that women have a difficult time separating what they feel physically from what they feel emotionally. Not so with all men. It takes a special man to understand that.
I would tell them - I DO tell them - that no one has ever loved them the way that I love them. And I would tell them that if I could, I would wrap myself around them and form a force field between them and the world. I would.