That annual “Back to School” feeling is in the air! Kids, parents and caregivers everywhere have either already started school or will begin their academic year very soon. his year is a very special one. The kindergarten class of 2012 will be the graduating class of 2025. Yes, you heard that right-2025. Only a few years ago I thought the year 2025 would have us flying around in personalized flying saucers like the Jetsons. Maybe we would even be more like Star Trek and beam ourselves where ever we wanted to go with the simple click of a button. As fast as technology is moving, we might make it there-at least with the flying saucers. I doubt we will be beaming ourselves anywhere by then.
2025 has special meaning to me. My first-born is a kindergartener this year. The first five years of her life have given mine new meaning, and they have flown by faster than the Jetson’s personal space craft. When I watch and listen to her, I am amazed by her intelligence, creativity and ability. I wonder at her pure potentiality. What is she feeling right now? And, what does she want to be when she grows up? What will her life be like? It is my job to help my kindergartener on her journey. I want her to truly experience all life has to offer.
As a mother, I also feel like I owe it to my children to leave this planet in better shape than I found it. I question whether or not this is happening, and it gives me great pause when I think about her graduation day in 2025. Will her formative years have been wonderful and full of global advancement? Or, will her generation experience a dynamic global economic and environmental shift that takes humankind down a path of destruction and chaos? I believe we have the power to make the world better, and everyone has to tap into their unique human potential achieve a better world for people around the globe.
Kids today have words in their vocabulary I can’t help but laugh at sometimes. Their worlds are full of things like sanitizer and sunscreen. They are more familiar with the iPad than a coloring book and a Smart Phone more than the older rotary phones that hang on the wall (the kids love playing with my Dad’s rotary phone-yes, they still exist!). Phones are also multipurpose. They are cameras, camcorders, and things to play and learn on and you can use them to see the person to whom you are talking. Even bar soap has become a novelty. My kids are so used to using liquid soap that they now enjoy the uniqueness of using bar soap. They are growing up in a world vastly different from what I could imagine as a child.
It truly takes a village to raise a child, and we all have a role to play in nurturing the potential of of one another, especially children. Older generations have the power and the privilege to help and learn from younger generations. The older I get, the more I think we all owe young people. Below are 10 major things I feel like I owe my daughter and her graduating Class of 2025.
1. Water in Both Quantity and Quality. Water has the potential to be the biggest issue of your generation. It is truly the elixir of life. Water should be there for you and the animals to play in and drink. It should also be available for you to grow real food, which is not something that comes in a box, bag or can.
2. Healthy Minds and Bodies. Health is the foundation of life. Take care of your mind, body and spirit. They are all interconnected and should be valued and nurtured. We are just beginning to understand the mind-body connection. I have come to believe that our subconscious mind is a very powerful tool, and that our beliefs do influence our biology and our lives. The energy of your mind and spirit is very powerful. Use it wisely. Food is fuel, so eat nutritious foods to be happy and healthy. Move your bodies. Exercise can and should be fun. It will do wonders for you mind, body and spirit. Dance. Play, stretch, and breathe. Goof around with your family and friends. Get creative and enjoy moving your bodies and minds.
3. Less sanitizer and sunscreen and more time in nature. Get dirty and enjoy the sunshine. It is actually good for you! There is no need to take vitamin D-just soak in the sun!
4. Real experiences. Get away from the TV and the video games. Get out there and do things. You are connected to the world and must develop a global mind that values diversity, creativity and innovation. Exposure to different things expands the body, mind and spirit. There is much to see and experience in this world. Make sure you travel and experience what happens in other communities and cultures. There is a world outside of your home that has much to offer.
5. Confidence. Your time on this planet is short. It may not always seem that way, but time will go faster the older you become. Define success on your own terms, and have the courage and confidence to pursue your passion and your dreams. Sometimes, bad things are going to happen. You can deal with them. Just keep moving forward. You can handle it. Take risks, learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. Let your intuition and personal fulfillment guide your actions.
6. Privacy. I am so glad every second of my life was not recorded on Facebook, You Tube and other web sites. You are probably going to do stupid things. Realize that your parents and grandparents made a lot of mistakes along the way too. We just didn’t have every stupid move recorded and put online for everyone to see. You have to be a little more careful now. The stakes are high, and the Internet is forever. Use your gift of common sense when it comes to you and your friends. Don’t put your life on display for everyone to see and I will try to keep my parental bragging to a minimum.
7. Opportunity Recognition. Realize that behind every challenge there is an opportunity. Sometimes when life or situations seem the most difficult, they are actually at the cusp of being the most amazing. Rather than staying mucked in drama, choose to clear your heart and mind and look for the opportunity.
8. Responsibility. You truly are responsible for your destiny. No parent or caregiver can make your life great. We can offer strength, support and understanding, but you must ultimately take responsibility for your actions and your life. Be leaders who have grand visions and take inspired actions. Take the world forward in an ethical and moral manner. Don’t be selfish jerks. Natural resources are critical to survival, and there should be enough for everyone to enjoy a great quality life. “Stuff” does not equal success of happiness.
9. Our time and full attention. This is an ongoing challenge, but it is important for all of us to disconnect and truly be present with each other. This means we all need to put our phones and mobile devices down and focus on those few precious moments we truly have with one another. We need to be there for you while you put up that awesome hook shot at the buzzer in the state finals.
10. Fun. Never underestimate the value of fun in your life. Let go and go a little wild sometimes. Fun is absolutely invaluable. It is foundational to creativity and innovation and is a wonderful stress reliever and relationship builder. Fun also keeps us young and is the fountain of life!
The take home message is this: Live a fulfilling life with purpose and passion. Share your true talents with the world, have fun, and live your best life every single day! You should be proud to be the Class of 2025. We are expecting great things from all of you because you all have something positive to contribute to the world.
Be You & Do Something Cool!