As a new mama, I often wonder how my little one will turn out when they grow up. What will they enjoy? Will they want to play football or rugby? tennis or cricket? Will they want to eat mash and beans or mash and peas? These things are out of my control and decisions my son will ultimately make by himself but there are some things I would like him to know, to help him along the way. Here we go...
1. Don't worry about being a “perfect man” - be a good human.
You don't have to be perfect, nobody is, but you can be a good human. If you are kind, have compassion and above all are a good friend, you won't go far wrong. Have manners, strong values and respect your elders. Stick up for the bullied and don’t be judgemental. Surround yourself with good people, people who love you for you.
2. Set making your bed as your first task of the day.
Always make your bed and take pride in it. Don't just throw the cushions on and place your blanket wonky, dress your bed well - you’ll thank yourself come bedtime and hey look at that, you’ve completed your first task of the day less than 10 minutes after getting up.
3. Take care of yourself
Look after your teeth, get a haircut, have clean fingernails, go for a run, eat well, mentally take any time that you may need - above anything you come first and should be your main priority.
4. Don't worry about what people think of you
Push people's opinions to the back of your mind and do what sets your heart on fire, always. Don't feel like you have to conform. If you take after your mum and want to spend your spare time going to the theatre and reading books, then do it. You don't have to be in the gym pumping iron like the world tells you too. You’re allowed to be in touch with your emotions, “Boys don't cry” is a load of rubbish and frankly, if you do need a cry you’ll feel better for it. Hell to stereotypes, eat some chocolate while you’re at it.
5. Always take the bins out
Do not let the bins overflow. Make a conscious effort to make sure the bins are empty and clean. Clean bin, clear mind - that's totally not a saying but you’ll thank me for it.
6. Look after the planet
Be sure you do your bit. Do your research, learn how to recycle properly, think of ways to be more sustainable, use a metal straw and think about the impact you’re having. Be aware of the wonderful world we live in and how you can make a difference.
7. Talk less, listen more
You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn. Listen and learn from other peoples experiences, listen to their opinions, have meaningful debates and forge your own opinions, learn from academics, listen to podcasts, have conversations about things that are important. Be picky with your words and read all the time.
8. Experiences > Materialism
Go and experience the world, do not spend all of your income on things. The latest gadgets, designer trainers, overpriced aftershave - these won't teach you about different cultures, new languages and they definitely won’t teach you any life lessons. Go and climb a mountain, do a skydive, take a train across Europe, go Diving like your dad - you’ll gain so much more in so many ways. Build memories, experience new things and live life outside of your comfort zone ...and outside of a shopping centre
9. Be kind to animals and old people
Give up your seat on the bus for the old lady with her shopping, help her with her shopping, ask her how her day is - you never know, you may be the only person she has a chat with today. Be kind to animals. Pet the sad-looking pooch outside of the supermarket, buy a bird feeder. Give a struggling bee some sugar water, they’ve done more for us than you know.