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Guiding principles

June 2, 2011

Not to be morbid here, but I recently heard a story of a mother who knew that she was dying of cancer.

Her children were young — and she knew that she would not be able to watch them grow up, that she would not be able to share those words of wisdom we all so desperately need at pivotal times in our lives.

And so, she made a home video.

And then two videos.

And then three.

And before she knew it, she had made a video of herself sharing advice, stories and comfort that her children could watch whenever they needed their mama.

After hearing this story, my eyes welled with tears. I thought about the painstaking idea of not being able to see my babies grow — and of not being able to help them along the way. But then I pondered what I would say to them.

What words could I share in a short home video that would help them in their adolescence – or while dating – or when being bullied – or when picking a future spouse?

God willing, I’ll be able to figure out those words along the way; however, three of my favorite quotes came to mind when I thought about my guiding principles – and the virtues I hope to instill in my precious little ones.

I’ve put a couple here on my little cyberspace before, but they’re worth saying again.

And if anything, maybe I can print this out and give it to my kids when they’re old enough to understand.

The first:

“Maintain a spirit of peace and you will save a thousand souls.” – St. Seraphim

I love this quote. It speaks to how we should treat each other on so many levels. “Maintain a spirit of peace” means kindness, patience, love and compassion. It means being calm during the storm. It means possessing a sincere contentment that does not brag, but simply… is. Some of the most influential and profound role models of my life have been simple people of peace. And it is their quiet joy that speaks volumes.


The second:

“If you are humble, nothing can touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know who you are.” – Mother Teresa

You know who you are. That phrase echoes in my mind while I read it. Humility is powerful. It is freeing. It is not counting on other’s opinions of you to determine your self worth. It is not getting puffed up over praise or down in the dumps because of insult. It is knowing (with a quiet attitude of peace) who you are – and who you were meant to be, and because of that: you are strong.


Which leads me to the third, my favorite:

“If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the world ablaze.” – St. Catherine of Siena

Live every day with purpose. With a kind of urgency that life is short and there are things to be done. Not in an anxious way — but in a way  that doesn’t just fill the time with busy work, but with passionate, thoughtful actions. That’s the great part about figuring out what the heck you’re supposed to be in the world: just be the best version of you.


Those are a few things I want to tell my kiddos. Along with talk about tampons and changing tires and choosing the right friends, etc. But today: peace, purpose & humility are high on my to-do list.

I think that’s a good start, don’t you?


One Comment leave one →
  1. Jenna (Hello, I Love You) permalink
    June 2, 2011 10:26 am

    Love this post!

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