The School of Hard Knocks

Elizabeth Braatz mama's list

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My 5-year-old twins were invited to a birthday party yesterday at a play center for a classmate of theirs and I observed something that I had noticed at a previous birthday party and it really irked me. There are two girls in the kids' class who are particularly mean to my daughter. In fact, on several occasions, she came over to them and asked if she could play with them and they responded with: “No, go away Emma!” At times, my daughter Emma would quietly stay around them until they told her to leave again or she would walk off and go do something else. She didn't cry and yell back at them and she always remained calm. However, I was ready to freak out on these girls. Since when did 5-year-olds bully their classmates?

This led to me to think more about how I hope my daughter sees herself. I want her to know how amazing she is; calm, kind, patient, generous. That's Emma. All of my children are wonderful but Emma is by far the most kind and aware of how others are feeling, which makes her a great friend, an amazing daughter and an all-around wonderful person.

While I refrained from yelling at the girls who were mean to my daughter, I did tell my own child how proud I was of her for acting so mature when they weren't nice to her. It also made me realize what I really want all three of my children to know about life and how they feel about themselves.

Here are some life lessons that I hope all of my kids should take to heart:

1. Not everyone is going to love (or even like you). That's fine; they can't see your true beauty and maybe they aren't worthy of it anyway.

2. Even when no one else is, if you want to dance, go for it. There's always time to celebrate and be happy. You are your own drummer; make a great tune. Smiling, laughing and having fun will age you gracefully and will maintain a happier outlook on life.

3. Live above the bullshit. You know how to be a great person so be that person. You'll thank yourself later when you receive respect versus nonsense.

4. Use your internal barometer throughout life. Trust that little gut of yours; it's so smart and will lead during important decisions.

5. Value yourself, your body and your morals. Your body is your special place; treat it with respect. Exercise, eat right, challenge yourself to keep it healthy for the future. With that said, do not allow anyone to take advantage of you simply because they want to.

6. Tell those who you love how you feel. Often people forget to remind those that they love how important they are. Don't allow yourself to make that mistake.

7. Value your siblings as they are your best friends, your confidants and connections to your past and future. The people that will love you no matter what (aside from mom and dad) are your siblings. They'll be around long after I'm gone and will remind you of your amazing childhood and will be there when you are parents too.

8. Show your best self. Always wear clean undies, brush your teeth and dress for the job that you want. We live in a world where people perceive what you demonstrate. Show them how amazing you are.

9. Carry yourself high, even when you've been or feel defeated. No one can take away your confidence and your ability to persevere.

10. Don't forget how much I love you. That will never change, no matter what.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Braatz

I am a mother to boy/girl twins and a daughter living in Milwaukee, WI. I am a marathon runner, group exercise instructor and freelance writer and blogger for .

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January 2015 – live & learn
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