‘You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.’
Encouraging words from Christopher Robin to his pal, Winnie the Pooh. I loved reading all of A.A. Milne’s books and I shall look forward to reading them to my new granddaughter.
As I write this, she is about a month old and I should like to share some words of wisdom with her; some original thoughts and some borrowed.
Dearest little one,
Thank you for bringing me such joy, especially in these turbulent times.
However, I am guessing every new grandparent says that as we have always had war and unrest in the world. Today is no different I suppose, although you were born in the middle of a pandemic.
But your arrival has allowed me to put all this aside and concentrate on you.
Your cherubic cheeks and your tiny toes with perfect fingernails. I can hardly wait until we can go for a mani/pedi together.
Your chubby thighs and your rosebud lips.
Your headful of dark hair and your button nose.
But let me stop gushing for just a moment and impart some advice to you, some nuggets of wisdom I have learned in my life.
Be kind to your parents and forgive them when they don’t get it right. See them as humans, as real people with imperfections.
Don’t be afraid to show your emotions as they are nothing to be ashamed of.
Be authentic as you are unique. There is no need to compare yourself with others; just strive to be the best version of yourself. You will quickly learn you can’t always please others or live up to their expectations.
As Dale Carnegie wrote so many years ago, the sweetest sound to our ears is our name. Ask others what their name is and take an interest in them.
Ask questions, as everybody has a story and would love to share it with you given the chance.
He also said to be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise. I couldn’t have said it any better, my darling girl, as everyone wants to feel appreciated.
Be a good listener. Talk less and listen more. I’m still working on that one.
Try not to criticize or complain…yes that one has also proven to be a formidable foe.
Love unconditionally. See above.
Be empathetic and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Try to forgive those who have hurt you or maligned you.
Don’t give others free rent in your head. Don’t let people put you down or make you feel unworthy. Choose your friends wisely.
Be kind. That is something we have heard a lot about during the pandemic before you were born.
It is so much easier to be nasty but it takes more energy and effort to be kind.
Become strong mentally and physically as you will need courage to navigate life.
Admit when you are wrong. Learn to say ‘I’m sorry’ and mean it.
Don’t judge or value yourself by how many likes you receive on your social media accounts.
Ignore them and go read a good book instead. Better still, go write a book. And learn cursive writing.
And here’s one I have yet to master: learn to be humble.
As your parents are endeavouring to raise you in a non-gendered way, here’s some advice from my guy: Join the Boy Scouts!
And just one more thing from our beloved Winnie the Pooh, “The most important thing is, even when we’re apart … I’ll always be with you …”
For now and forever.
April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.