100 things I want my daughters to know

Three daughters, plus a daughter-in-law, and likely another daughter-in-law someday if/when the youngest marries; that’s potentially five families who will branch off of ours. I find that awesome — and sometimes a little bit panic-inducing. We’re setting the stage for our future grandchildren’s lives right now.

The world sends all kind of messages to our girls. Of course it’s not all bad, but TV and movies, the internet, our peers… they all have potential to influence how girls see themselves. {Even us grown-up girls.}  There’s much to overcome in how we see the world and how we see ourselves.

100 things I want my daughters to know

So, I’ve created a list. Of things I want to say to my girls, and tidbits of life advice I want to give them. Some of it I have already said or taught, but some will have to come later. Of course, with such a wide age range, it will all have to come at different times for each of them.

Daughter, I want you to know…

1- you are loved. By me, by your Dad, and most of all by your Heavenly Father.

2- we aren’t perfect parents (because there’s no such thing) so we’re going to screw things up. But we’re doing our best. There is no how-to manual for this parenting gig.

3- someday you, too, will have less than stellar moments as a mother. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It only means you’re human.

4- we, your parents, will embarrass you.

Daughters 2012

5- drama is overrated. {Unless you’re on stage, in which case it’s quite fun!}

6- how to find joy in the simple things.

7- real happiness comes from living a life that pleases God, even when it’s hard.

8- how to change a tire. You might never have to do it yourself, but you should know how, just in case.

9- the basics of how cars work. You need to know how to check your fluids, what the mechanic is talking about, and which funny noises under the hood mean you need to get it to the shop ASAP.

10- how to drive a stick-shift car.

11- a little make-up goes a long way. Seriously, less is almost always more.

12- to protect your face from the sun. You’ll think it’s silly when you’re young but you’ll thank me when you hit middle age and beyond. {When asked her secret for beautiful skin, Great-Gran always said “Oil of Olay and a sunhat.”}


13- another beauty tip: don’t smoke. You already know it’s bad for your lungs, but it’s hard on your skin, too.

14- it’s not a cliche: true beauty does come from within. It’s something that shines through from an inner joy and cannot be faked.

15- there are plenty of good men in the world. But if you settle for guys who treat you as less than a treasure, you might miss the ones who will.

16- no man will complete you, no matter how good a guy he is. Only Jesus can do that.

17- not to believe those who say to follow your heart. The Bible says the heart is deceitful above all else; I’ll add that it’s also easily deceived.

18- how to listen to your heart. Although following your heart is NOT wise, learning to hear it can clue you into some things long before your brain figures out what’s going on. But remember: a sound mind and good counsel should be what leads you.

19- how to make (and stick to) a budget.

20- the importance of staying out of debt.

21- how to cook healthy meals — and fun desserts and such, too!

22- how to sew. (At least the basics!)

23- how to plan meals for your family.

24- how to be a good and gracious hostess.

25- parties (birthdays, baby showers, holiday gatherings, etc) do not need to be Pinterest-worthy.

26- your wedding day does not determine the health of your marriage. Keep this in mind when planning your wedding; if you are married at the end of the day, the wedding was a success, no matter what else happened.


27- the main things worth spending the majority of your wedding budget on: rings and photography. Not much else will last and be useful beyond the wedding day.

28- to start your married life with a splurge-worthy honeymoon if possible.

29- sex means more than the media and the world would have you believe. Guard this aspect of your life so it can be what God intended it to be.

30- your new family begins when you get married, not when you have kids.

31- to never stop dating your husband, even after kids enter the picture. You and he need to still like each other after the kids have all flown the nest, and that won’t happen if you stop investing in your relationship with him during the decades you are raising children together.


32- to enjoy the moments that make up the days.

33- to think long-term.

34- the value of a mentor. Always seek to have someone to pour into, and someone who mentors you, at every stage of life.

35- how to resolve conflict and deal with “difficult” people.

36- about grace. How to accept it, how to extend it, and what a gift from God it truly is.

37- how to take care of yourself once the full impact of motherhood kicks in. You simply cannot meet the needs of your family if your own needs are not met. {But sometimes, motherhood is going to require you to shelve your own needs temporarily.}

38- life is short and there’s no reason to hurry through it.

39- the best way to feel fulfilled is to do things that have eternal value.

40- those eternal-value things seldom look as glamorous as we’d like to imagine. They often look like wiping baby spit-up off your shirt, serving a meal to the homeless, or teaching parenting classes to low-income teen moms.

41- how much one genuine compliment can life someone’s spirits.

42- a sincere smile brings joy — both to you and whoever you’re smiling at.


43- how to listen. This means not planning your own response, not being in a hurry, but simply listening with an open mind and a compassionate heart.

44- how to ask thoughtful questions and learn about other people, instead of only talking about yourself.

45- that you can learn from anyone — no matter their age, race, background, religion, or socioeconomic status.

46- you cannot earn respect if you’re not willing to give it.

47- first impressions (and especially outward appearances) can be misleading.

48- faith is not about where or how often you go to church. It’s about trust and relationship with Jesus.

49- it’s the Holy Spirit that will show you what is “right” and “good,” rather than a list of religious rules to follow. Get to know Him personally.

50- men and women are distinctly different. Respect those differences.

51- both genders have strengths and weaknesses. Never feel lesser for being a woman, but please never join in the man-bashing many women seem to enjoy.

52- you were created for a purpose that only you can fill.

53- don’t be afraid to dream BIG.

54- you are creative — but it’s up to you to figure out what avenue that may present itself. Creativity comes in many forms, and isn’t necessarily artistic.

55- friends matter. Choose them carefully because they influence you more than you realize. (Even as adult)

lifetime friends

56- when you find a true friend, cherish and protect that friendship.

57- trust is hard to build and easy to break. Be someone others can trust.

58- unforgiveness is a bitter poison — to yourself, not the person who hurt you or did you wrong.

59- forgiveness is life-transforming. For both the forgiver, and the forgiven.

60- the grass is never really greener on the other side.

61- developing a good relationship with your siblings is time and energy well-spent.

silly students

62- life will have highs and lows. Savor the good times and learn from the not-so-good times.

63- gratitude brings more happiness than any amount of stuff ever can.

64- gratitude brings you closer to God when you realize all good come from Him.

65- fitness is not about how you look in a swimsuit.

66- exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress and improve your overall mood on a long term basis.

67- never to take for granted things like the ability to walk or talk.

68- how to recognize the differences between needs and wants.

69- celebrate special occasions — and ordinary days, too.

tea hats

70- older generations (grandparents and their counterparts) are a wonderful source of wisdom.

71- how to honor, respect, and serve the elderly.

72- despite popular opinion, it is possible to have too many shoes.

73- you are beautiful. No silicone, fad diets, or collagen injections required.

74- words are powerful. Try to make sure edifying words are often on your lips (and that negative ones are far and few between).

75- how to write a proper Thank You note.

76- how (and why) to honor and appreciate veterans that have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

77- the basics of self-defense.

78- to protect the weak and care for the “least of these.”

79- never to lose your wonder of our big wide world.

kayak blackwater river

80- how to do your part to care for this beautiful world God made.

81- the delight of traveling near and far, to see new sites and learning about cultures, people, and environments different that what you’re accustomed to.

82- making your bed {yes, every day} is a worthwhile habit.

83- there is no such thing as the perfect purse. Might as well accept that now rather than face disappointment the rest of your life. {I’m winking, but seriously: there is no perfect purse.}

84- you can’t please all the people all of the time — and you shouldn’t try. Be true to Christ and who He made you to be, and if you happen to please some folks along the way, that’s great; if not, it’s their loss.

85- comparison creates discontent. Don’t compare your looks, your home, your family, your income, your marriage, your skills, your parenting, your anything to anyone else’s.

86- hair is just hair; don’t let a bad hair day dictate your mood.

87- what’s best for you might not always be what you want, at least not at that moment.

88- never to take yourself too seriously. And laugh often!

laugh and be silly

89- a sense of humor is a valuable quality in a husband. (See #88.)

90- how to brew a proper cup of tea.

91- the basics of home improvement. Such as: how to hang a curtain rod, how to change an HVAC filter, how to reset a blown breaker fuse.

92- how to clean your home. Not only the day-to-day things like vacuuming and scrubbing toilets, but also how to do deep cleaning every now and then.

93- to be very careful what you share online. Especially photos.

94- the joy of dancing. Preferably, like no one’s watching.

joy of dancing

95- getting older doesn’t mean having less fun than in your younger years. Don’t rush to grow up, but enjoy each age you are, whatever age that is.

96- you are never too old to set a new goal, start a new hobby, or turn your life in a new direction.

97- you are never too young to make a difference in the world.

98- your attitude largely determines how much you enjoy your day, your job, your marriage… your life.

99- no amount of kindness is ever wasted.

100- a visit to the ocean can remind you how very small you are in the big scheme of things. But here’s something awesome: the One who made that vast ocean and every grain of sand made you, too.


A big thank you to my dear real-life mom-of-daughters friends who helped by suggesting ideas for this list!


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