This post originally appeared on October 23,2013 - the first half of this post republished on June 23,2017
Several months ago, I posted a couple of lists of "just some things to tell the children". My little tax deductions are moving more and more into adult life (marriage, parenthood, job interviews, college decisions, etc) and my Mommy-heart is aching for the days when they all sat at my breakfast room table 3x a day...every day. Wondering if the really important stuff got through, sandwiched in between Latin and handwriting and Chemistry. The real life lessons. And most important of all - that they are my world and I love them nearly as much as I love Jesus and their Daddy. Enough to make my heart nearly burst.
Did those truths get through? In the midst of chores and holidays and my mistakes? I don't know. So I am reposting the combined lists. My Chambers quartet - I love you!!
To Katie, Mary, Chip, and Betsy --
1. Be on time. Actually, be early. (the 30 minute "Sinyard standard" is not completely necessary, but don't be late. Shows self-discipline and respect for others)
2. Manners matter. If you know which fork to use and how to introduce your guest, you will be less SELF-conscious and therefore able to be OTHERS-conscious
3. Write thank you notes. Even if I am not standing over your shoulder, write thank you notes. Handwritten. Not email.
4. Be kind to the people who cannot do anything to benefit you.
5. DO NOT GET IN DEBT. If you do, make it your priority to get out.
6. Make your bed as soon as you get up. Seriously. It will set the tone for your whole day.
7. Stay best friends with each other. I promise you will need each other. If nothing else, you have to pick out my nursing home together.
8. Give. Give your time and talents but also your money away. To church, parachurch organizations and people that won't show up on your tax return.
9. Laugh. Alot. (and not just at other people....) 10Remember "the sibling test" when you get ready to get married.
11. Keep memorizing Scripture. As you think, so you will be. God's Word will transform you. And it is your only offensive weapon against the Enemy of your soul.
12. Work really hard at everything you do. Set the standard for diligence for everyone around you.
13. Keep learning. Always be ready to learn a new skill or information. It will keep you interesting and maybe you won't go senile so early!
14. READ. READ. READ.
15. Go on mission trips regularly. And share the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.
16. Don't cheat. I know you will be tempted because it is all around you. And it is easy to do. But don't. You will hate yourself. And once you have cheated, you will find it easier to compromise again. In other areas. (If you have cheated, you are not doomed forever. Make it right and then begin with a clean slate)
17. Don't lie. To others...or to yourself.
18. Be cheerful. I repeat, BE CHEERFUL. Even in the mornings. A stand-up comedy routine isn't necessary but be pleasant.
19. Treat all authority with respect. Including police officers with speeding tickets in hand...
20. Treat all people with dignity. NO ONE is beneath you. Absolutely no one.
21. Serve. When you are with a group of people or at someone's house or wherever, serve. Don't wait to be ask - initiate serving.
22. Have an ongoing to-do list and get things done. Again, diligence.
23. Every year, write a note to 3-4 people who have contributed to your life. Handwritten note.
24. Celebrate the successes of other people. Especially each other. Your Dad is the best at this of anyone I know. Follow his example.
25. Come home whenever you can as much as you want to for as long as possible. I promise to make your favorite foods and do your laundry. Forever. I love you.
Oh, and always remember to call your Mom. That's #1-100. Always call your Mom.
26. Don't be a perfectionist. It's not impressive. Rather, "perfectionism" is prideful, pathetic, and can even be an excuse for a lack of discipline. Get the job done.
27. Do the best you can - given all circumstances of the moment. Every cheesecake won't be your prettiest, every game won't always be your highest scoring, and every test won't be 105. Because sometimes the weather won't cooperate, you are gonna get sick, and there will be simultaneous multiple demands on you. So just do the best you can, given all the circumstances of the moment.
28. You are going to fail sometimes. (see #27) When you do, don't wallow in it. Don't feel sorry for yourself or make excuses or beat yourself up. Failure is part of life. Get over it. And be the better for it.
29. Don't expect to live on your past successes. Just like you need to get over your failures, get over your successes. You have to keep doing a good job, over and over again. That's life. Be grateful for the opportunity.
30. Attitude is everything. Somebody once said "attitude determines your altitude". That's true. You can't control what happens to you but you can - and you must - control your response to it. If you trust in God's loving sovereignty, confident that He is working all things for your good, then you will have a positive attitude about whatever happens to you. This is not a denial of reality (some things are just plain HARD and painful). But it is an embracing of the impact attitude can have. Make yours good.
31. Traditions matter. You don't have to be a slave to the ones that don't matter but be willing to develop some, adhere to them, attach meaning to them, and enjoy them. It will be interesting to see which of our family traditions stick. I hope, after I am gone, that at least one of you will continue to pray for those folks that send us Christmas cards. And put up the "happy birthday" sign on 12/12, 3/6, 8/1, and 3/11. And get out the red plate. And make Chambers Christmas Jam every December.
32. When you don't know what to do, just do the next thing. Whatever it is, just do the next thing. And always do the right thing. Then it will fall in place. Like pieces of a puzzle, it will fall in place. You will most likely not know what the whole picture will look like at the outset but if you just do the next thing - the right thing - it will fit together.
33. Work hard. Do the hard things first. Don't procrastinate and don't be lazy. Remember the ant. But also...
34. Go to Krispy Kreme when the HOT light is on. And to DQ late at night. Don't just work hard - relax sometimes. If you work hard first, then you can enjoy relaxing more.
35. Don't talk about what you have done. "Let another praise you and not your own lips".
36. Ask other people about themselves. And then listen. Really listen. Don't just wait for a pause in the conversation so you can talk about yourself.
37. Remember that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy dies from it. You are going to be wronged in this life - let it go.
38. You are going to receive help and goodness from many people all through your life -- never forget it. Always say thank you - again and again.
39. As you have received, also give. People that you can't help have blessed you -- see to it that you bless people that can't help you. That's God's economy. It's always good.
40. Play to your strengths and staff to your weaknesses. Develop your gifts, use them well, and find others to help you where you aren't gifted. That's a mutually beneficial relationship!
41. Be careful about what you put in your mind. Music and movies and media. Be careful.
42. Look people in the eyes when you talk to them. Every time. Whether they are 2 years old or the President or the clerk at WalMart or your significant other. Look them in the eyes.
43. Don't try to impress other people. ESPECIALLY not with stuff!! Strive to be a pleaser of God, not of men. He's the one that counts. And not just in the end.
44. Take responsibility. Leaders take the initiative to accept responsibility. Don't shirk it. And certainly don't blame somebody else. Take responsibility.
45. Be gracious and kind. Even if someone thinks it's "just a Southern thing", be gracious.
46. Defend the defenseless. Stick up for the person that gets picked on or left out or is just plain odd. Whatever you do to the least of these, you are doing to Jesus.
47. Take care of your health. You inherit some things like heart disease and diabetes and high blood pressure from both sides so take care of your health. Eat alot of veggies and exercise. Starting now.
48. You are gonna get some bumps in life. Sometimes it may be more like a tsunami. There will be hurts and disappointments and uncertainties. In times like those, remember that I love you completely. You can't do anything that will make me love you any less or any more than I already do. You are mine and I am eternally grateful for that privilege. I think you four are the greatest people in the world. If you weren't my kid, I would wish that you were. I love you.
49. Ask your Dad for advice. Always.
50. Call your Mom.
Posted By Suzanne Chambers to Living Letters at 12/29/2012 04:53:00 AM