This month has been a real time of chaos and transition, and Mother Nature teasing us with a little taste of spring hasn’t really helped. With the end of the school year coming up kids have it rough too. A lot has changed about schooling since I was a student but what hasn’t changed is how undeniably tough it is. As my older one navigates through the daily schoolyard dynamics I’m reminded of all that I went through. And sitting here counselling my daughter on her tween problems and the importance of standing up for what she believes in, my mind goes to who else but Madonna. No, not her chaps-wearing, cringe worthy avatar today but the inspirational Madonna of the 80’s. The iconic Madonna of the “Express Yourself” era.
Clichés and song titles for some, these are real life lessons I wish I had learnt 30 odd years ago. Life lessons I want my girls to know long before they hit the joy that is high school, even before they hit the dreaded teen years. Hell, this is what they need to know today.
Life Lessons For Tweens
1.Life isn’t Fair. Sure, it can be a mystery. It can also be absolutely amazing, and suck all at the same time. It’s what we do when we are down that really counts and makes us who we are. That’s not a cliché. The lessons we learn playing Monoply on Friday family game night apply here. Don’t be a sore loser and no gloating when you win.
2. Talk is Cheap. People will talk up a storm about who they are and how they feel, and even how much they love and appreciate you. It’s their actions that matter. Watch those actions. That’s when you know if there’s respect in the relationship….or just talk.
3. Fight Back. Yes, your mother is advocating a fight. Fight with words. Or on Facebook. In black and white. Or 3D. On the phone. Or face to face. Our society values politeness and manners but when you’ve been wronged its OK to get angry and fight back. Don’t go for second best, baby. Your time, your opinion, your soul deserves better and sometimes you have to fight to make yourself be heard.
4. Just Say No. The biggest cliché on this list, and I don’t think Madonna ever said this. You have seen me I’m not that great at pushing back either. But this is important especially as you start your life’s journey (yes, it may not feel like it today but it is only just starting!). When you’ve had enough, just say no. When you think it’s not right, just say no. Say it when you’re overbooked. Say it when you’re overlooked. Say what you mean. Say it loud. Say it clear. Say it however you like. Just say no.
5. And when you DO say no, people won’t like it. There will be people who won’t like you, who will judge you for your intent and your actions, and misjudge you for the same. They will talk about you behind your back and occasionally even to your face. Don’t get caught up in the negativity because that’s when the haters win. And remember they don’t matter, this is not their story.
6. Let the Universe handle it. Karma will eventually close the circle and even things out. I know it doesn’t feel like it today but once you’ve tried your best and the day is done, you’ll see people more clearly. Thankfully Karma is a b!*&# and will get even, so you don’t have to.
7. Let It Go. I know Madonna is but a faint melody to you, and you’ve already out-grown Frozen, the movie but Elsa has it right this time. Take a breath, or few. Focus on the positive, and all that you’ve worked hard to achieve, and then move on. There will be haters out there who rain on your parade. But you worked hard, and it’s YOUR parade. That’s worth celebrating!