First I would teach them to be kind.

Girls are always their own worst enemies, no need to lash out and tear others down for their own internal benefit. I would teach them how to discover their own insecurities and realize them before they let it control them to the point that they need to tear down others around them. I would teach them the beauty of lifting other up around them, that the most gorgeous girls are the ones that highlight the beautiful parts of others. I would teach them to never give into the pettiness of others, that shaming someone else for things they do not agree with is never the answer in any situation. I would teach them that expressing love is accepting others for everything they are, it is not questioning what they aren’t and deeming if they are worthy. Girls will be girls and how vicious they can be, but when they come home from school crying because of what Sarah said to Sally I will show them the grace in forgiveness and the power in learning how to send love and move along because fighting a battle with someone whose bigger battle is within themselves is never worth the fight.

More importantly I would teach them how truly loved they are. I would make sure they understood from the moment they came into this world they were a perfect creation flawed in their own uniqueness that no one else could ever compare to. Above all else I would pound into their precious innocent heads before the cold world touches them, the incredible importance of self love, that above all else self love is the strongest love there is. I would pray every night that they understood the older they got that no stranger, friend, boy, co-worker, or man could ever take away this self love, it is invincible and protected deep inside them but will carry them through anything they endure in life.

I would teach them to raise fire, I would teach them to burn in a world that tries to water everything down. I would make sure they grew in their own courageous desires and created everything from their heart. To teach them that their passions are their own unique imprint and the more weird and different they are the better. I wouldn’t restrict them to cookie cutter lifestyles, I would hope they would run in field barefoot and laugh when the wind plays with their hair. If they enjoy the sunsets as much as me, and miss dinner because they got caught staring at all the colors while pondering life, I would not scold them.

Of course I will teach them when they come to me with their first heartbreak that it is okay to feel the emotions deeply, to cry and feel a loved loss, but it is never okay to start to belittle yourself and think a boy left because they were not good enough. I wish I could teach them how to know what the right guy is to fall in love with, but that is something we all have to learn for ourselves. They’ll have to learn and shuffle through a few guys with good smiles and bad intentions to know the difference of a truly good smile with good intentions, but I can teach them to trust their instinct and demand respect. I can teach them that no means no, and no man can take away their power. I can teach them then pray that they’ll remember the time I taught them about self love so whatever a man promises them they know they will never truly need it.

At the end of the day I hope they learn they are loved unconditionally, and know the value to spread that to others. I hope they learn how unique they are and to stand strong in a world that will try it’s hardest to change them. I hope they learn the value of a compliment over the value of a “like.” I hope they learn the beauty of heart versus the beauty of a face, and the difference between a man’s character and man’s charm.

I hope they learn to be themselves.