Things I Want for My Daughters

July 14, 2005

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1.      Know the difference between being alone and being lonely.  With friends and family who truly love and support you, you may find yourself alone occasionally, but never lonely.  You may choose to be alone, but not lonely.  Remember this for yourself – but for others as well.

2.      Recognize there is a difference between how a sexy woman dresses and how a boy would dress if he was a woman.  Most of the designers would have you look like the latter – but that is not only unoriginal, it is without class.  True sexiness and sensuality come from within – not what you show.

Designers who get this: Michael Kors, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera

3.      Your faith is your cornerstone.  It’s odd the Jewish religious schools teach you to question and argue the teachings of our faith.  But faith is just that – a leap that what has been set before you is a way of living your life that is kind, just, good and loving.  My moment hit me on my 30th birthday (how cliché, I know).  I woke up and it was no longer necessary to argue and rationalize all I’ve been taught.  There were children in my life that needed me to decide what I believed in and teach and guide them accordingly.  I chose Judaism the way I had been taught – even more conservatively.  I finally had it.  I had discovered what faith was.  I wish for you that comfort of truly knowing what you believe in and how you will live your life.  And the ability to be tolerant of other faiths that are kind, good and just.

4.      For you to get to know Broadway.  The classics and the current.  Get swept away in the lights, the story and the music.  Fall in love and be mesmerized by the characters. Be awed by the writers and directors and choreographers and actors that bring type on a piece of paper to life.  And take your children to plays.  Pass on this gift of the arts. And this gift of commentary and entertainment.

5.      Go on stage twice.  Be a part of a play of musical.  Know what hard work is is to put yourself out there – to risk failure in front of an audience you can’t see.  Learn to take on a part that is nothing like you – and find that place inside of you that is so vulnerable it brings the character alive.  Know what it’s like to be part of a team where everyone is required to do that.  And help build the set and be part of the production crew.  Enjoy the curtain calls and applause – and share them with your castmates.

6.      To accept a compliment.

7.      To own a good strand of pearls – and know they can be worn with jeans and silk just as easily.

8.      Know the stories of the women in your family.  They are surprising and inspiring – and are all a part of you.

9.      A life full of fear is paralyzing.  But a life with no fear is dangerous.  Have enough fear to protect yourself from bad decisions and be respectful to what your family needs to help you feel safe.

10.  Having a baby doesn’t make you a mother – or father.  Many people who had kids are merely troubled egg and sperm donors.  Being a mother or father requires a lot more than a biological process.

11.  Don’t keep pictures or love letters of old boyfriends once you get married.  They are your past – and your husband is your future.  He should do the same for you.

12.  Learn to play an instrument.  No one says you have to be an enormous talent, but learn the history and the theory behind music – and you’ll appreciate each song you hear even more.  Plus, you may like it – and be a hit at parties!

13.  Make one best friend – a person who knew you before you became a woman – and who became one with you.  Keep her in your life always.

14.  Honor your mother and father. Lead a good, happy, just and giving life.  Reflect their love for you by being a person you can both be proud of.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree is a true statement.

15.  Do not choose to expose yourself to things you do not support of believe in – especially if they are harmful, dangerous, addictive or malicious.  The more you are around these things, the easier they become to tolerate – and eventually you rationalize accepting them.  It is okay to draw a line and say “no” – and live by that.

16.  Love is not enough to solve every problem.  This is not pessimism – it is reality.  Without love, some problems get bigger – but know that even with it, they don’t go away.

17.  Laugh.  Laugh so hard your eyes water, your face hurts and your stomache gets sore.  And be able to laugh at yourself.

18.  Not everyone can tell a story or joke.  Find out if you can.

19.  Be an important influence on a child.

20.  Give time and money to a charity or cause you believe in.  Set this example for your children.  “No person was ever honored for what was received.  Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

21.  Knowledge is power – for yourself, your family, your team – get the answers yourself.  And learn the best, most efficient way to gather and analyze information.  Never be more than three degrees of separation away from the information you need.

22.  Always write thank you notes.  Handwritten.  Email and technology are not a replacement for handwritten sentiment and thoughts.  And be prompt with them.

23.  Get the nicest stationery you can afford.

24.  To be comfortable in a skirt and heels.

25.  To know what a gift and responsibility it is to be Jewish.

26.  To know your mother and father’s history as children, adults and as a couple.

27.  Live well, laugh often.

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