It’s Okay to be YOU!

I’ve always loved music and enjoy singing along. In fact, in 1956 my mother received a call from my kindergarten teacher. With great anxiety my mother listened to Mrs. Clevenger: “Mrs. Best? In all my years as a teacher, I have never had a child like yours.” Mother (gasping) replies with, “What has she done?” The reply, ” Oh, no, Mrs. Best! I’ve never had a child with perfect pitch. She’s a wonder.” Whew, what a relief!

Fast forward to 1982…. I’m a mother of three sons aged 4, 3, and 9 mo. We’re on our way to Ryan’s preschool. The music is playing, I’m singing along, and I hear Ryan’s sweet voice, “Oh, Mommy, please don’t sing!” What?! So I stop singing. Next time we’re in the car, the music is playing, and I’m singing along. Again, “Oh, Mommy, please don’t sing!” So I stopped and began to whistle. From that day forward, I stopped singing when the children were in the car. But you can bet I whistled!

Here’s my point. When you have joy inside and it’s gotta get out, let it out. Sometimes there’s a scream too. I will NEVER forget my mother giving me this advice on raising three sons [forgive me if I offend you, but Mother was every bit a lady], “Sometimes, Mary, you just have to go outside and yell SH_T.” She was right. It helped a lot. 🙂

Everyone has a “song” in their heart. Whatever that unique life song is, sing it with gusto. There’s never going to be a sweeter sound than honesty — to yourself and to others around you. Who knows…maybe your song will be music to their ears.

Nana’s Nudge: Don’t suppress yourself to please others. You might go into hiding and you’ll never fully express the real you.
Nana’s Songs: Life Song |  I’ve Gotta Be Me | Sing Along | Sing A Song | Happy
Nana’s Prayer: Father, You’ve placed a unique song in each of us that is music to Your ears. Help us to sing it true and loud enough for the world around us to hear it. And Lord, help us to hear the joyful song You sing over us. (Zeph 3:17)

Sticks & Stones

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” is an old saying. I clearly remember chanting that to any one of my 8 brothers and sisters with a ” na..na..na” thrown in for emphasis. Perhaps you said it yourself on the playground back in the day? In truth, unkind words DO hurt! They go deep inside you and stay there, hidden in the cave of your heart, planting a lie that can grow and grow as more taunting or critical words are added throughout your life. Shock of all shocks — some of us actually believe those words!

Over the years, I have learned to hold my peace (or… piece of advice). Sit on it. Breathe in and out. And then, answer the criticism or false statement with what I truly believe in a “reasoned” and calm voice. I have learned to cultivate kindness. You might wonder, how do you do that? Well, I think about all of the good things in my life and work to keep an “attitude of gratitude”.

Here are some ways to “kill with kindness”

  • Look for the longest line at the grocery store and help the person in front of you unload their groceries.
  • Compliment the bank teller on her necklace.
  • Smile at the harried mother and let her know what it’s like to have a misbehaving child.
  • Hug your grandchild and tell him how proud you are of him.
  • Compliment the salesperson for going out of their way for you.
  • Look for opportunities throughout your day to spread cheer. I believe you’ll find that your day is lifted up and you’ll be whistling a happy tune as well.

Nana’s Nudge:  Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)
Nana’s Songs:  I Whistle a Happy Tune | Kindness is a Muscle