18 Life Lessons I Want My Daughters to Hear.

Via Rebecca Lammersen
on May 11, 2012
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I’d like to give a gift to my daughters.

I want to give them 18 little light bulbs to illuminate their journey…

1. Don’t strive to be popular, settle for being yourself, settle into yourself .

Over the years, I’ve learned that the popular people are the most insecure. The popular girl or boy surround him or herself with others to hide from their own insecurities. When you settle for yourself, you will never settle for anyone who is not themselves.

2. Eat your dessert every day.

Every day, have a treat. Not as a reward, but as a privilege. It is an honor to taste, to enjoy, to salivate and dance with sweetness. Don’t deny yourself this privilege. You have a mouth, you have taste buds—use them.

3. Say No at least once a day.

Don’t be a people pleaser. You can’t do everything and you can’t please everyone, so say, No. By saying no, you are respecting yourself and your energy. Trust me, people will respect you more because when you do say yes, you will mean it. No one will ever question your presence or intention.

4. Never feel guilty for moving away from me, for traveling or going on an adventure.

I want you to leave me, to travel far away and only send a post card once in a while.  I didn’t birth you to burden you. I birthed you to release you.  My love is here whether you are two feet from me, or 20,000 miles away, go be you.

5. Know that you are absolutely right when you think that the calculus class you are taking is boring…and is information you will never use in real life.

You are right, yet understand that the patience you cultivate when sitting through the class, and the discipline you strengthen to solve the problem, will be the foundation that will allow you to persevere through every challenge and experience in life.

6. Please don’t wait until marriage to have sex.

Just wait until you meet someone who makes you smile, makes you laugh, respects you (as your father does), holds your hand and isn’t afraid to cry in front of you.

7. If you go shopping and you like something, don’t buy it right then.

Put it on hold. Go about your day, go to sleep, and the next day if you are still thinking of it, buy it.

8. Choose something to have faith in.

If you have faith, you have hope, and when you have hope you always see a way. When you see a way, you never give up.

9. Listen to the whisper, the churn in your belly and the goosebumps on your arms.

Those sensations are not sensations at all, they are you speaking. Don’t listen to the second voice, that is just doubt, and definitely don’t listen to the third voice, that is just someone else’s opinion. Always and only trust yourself.

My girls. Photo: Kevin Sutton

10. Cut your hair short at least once, it will free you.

11. Find Your Yoga.

I don’t care if you ever do a down dog in your entire life, just find something that calms your mind, and devote yourself to it. Find something that keeps your mind and body connected, healthy and working together, because in the times when everything else seems disconnected, it will keep you centered and grounded.

12. Acknowledge your gift.

God put you on this Earth with a legacy, you just have to see it. How do you see it? See this life as a journey. Learn as much as you can, read as much as you can, dance as much as you can, speak as much as you can, listen as much as you can, do as much as you can, travel as much as you can because that’s how you will see it. It’s already inside of you, you just need to spark it, so ignite as many flames as you can, and notice which one keeps burning. That goes for your life partner and your friends too.

Say hello to strangers, smile at the person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, or the person behind you at the grocery store. You never know, not only could they be your everlasting flame, but they could help reveal your gift. Your gift is your legacy, the legacy that will help serve the world.

13. Look around you and see the world, as you do now.

Point and rejoice as you see a bird fly by. Stand with your nose pressed to the glass as the rain pours down. Pick up a leaf or a flower and hold it as you would a piece of gold. Put it on your nightstand and cherish it. If you do this, you will take care of our earth and you may even heal it.

14. Always cheer for the underdog

…because they have courage to stand up to the top dog.

15. Check in with yourself when you leave someone’s presence.

Ask yourself,  Do I feel uplifted and happy? Or, do I feel depleted and lethargic? If you feel uplifted, the person you were just with is a supporter, keep them around. If you feel depleted, the person you were with is an enemy to your heart, don’t associate with them and make no apologies.

16. Write.

Your thoughts are precious and important. The best guidance you will get, is from yourself. Write them down and read them.

17. Clean your room.

How you keep your space, is how you keep your mind. When things are neat, clarity will walk with ease.

18. If you only remember one thing, remember this: You are the most important person in the whole world.

You determine your own direction, and if you trust your own compass, you will always remain on your path.

Emma and Ruby,

Thank you for making me a mother.

I love you,


Bonus: Three things I wish I knew when I was 22:


Editor: Brianna Bemel

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About Rebecca Lammersen

Rebecca Lammersen is the founder of Yogalution, an intimate, boutique style yoga studio in Scottsdale, AZ. I love being alive. I love being a mother. I love teaching yoga. I love to write. I love to know. I love to not know. I love to learn. I love to listen. I love to read. I love to swim. I love to travel. I love to dance. I love to help. I love to serve. That pretty much sums me up. For daily inspirations, check out Rebecca's website. Visit her yoga studio website and peruse her articles at The Huffington Post. You can also find her on Facebook. Subscribe to Rebecca's feed and never miss a post!


125 Responses to “18 Life Lessons I Want My Daughters to Hear.”

  1. Christine says:

    Rebecca, this is so incredibly beautiful and it has sent tears streaming down my face. Thank you and thank you to all the mothers of the world. This could be the most inspiring piece I've read on ej. Your daughters are truly blessed.

  2. Petra glinski says:

    Beautiful and inspiring! Most definitely sharing with my daughter! Thank you and Happy Mother’s Day!

  3. Stephanie says:


    The best article I already read here! Especially number 4 and 11. These are two things that I want do say for my children, when I have one.

    (Sorry about my english, I'm from Brazil)

  4. Jane says:

    I have just sent this to my 16 year-old daughter, tellign her I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    Thank You

  5. Amy says:

    Calc class is boring. You will learn patience and never need the math skills, because you are a girl and girls don't do math. You'll never be an engineer or a doctor or any type of scientist because that's boy stuff. Stick to being a nurturer.

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your

    next write ups thank you once again.

  7. CJinSD says:

    #5 REALLY upsets me. Calculus does, as a matter of fact, have plenty of real-life applications and I use it frequently to this day. And the fact that this list is aimed specifically at girls makes it even more enraging.

    Math class is not 'a waste of time except to teach you patience and perseverance' (yes, I know, every good girl must be patient, boys not so much, because boys will be boys, right?).

    Calculus may not be *your* thing, but it is not, in absolute "right or wrong" terms, "boring". That's your opinion, not a fact. And girls have hard enough a time as it is being taken seriously when they do have an interest in math and science, so let's not hammer into them that it's yawn-inducing and useless except to teach them to "endure"–that age-old BS "feminine" trait.

    End rant.

  8. Claire says:

    Yes, I'll be running right out to tell my daughter not to wait till marriage to have sex. Because that's what good mothers do. "Go ahead, honey, if he's cute and you like him, by all means, sleep with him. What's that? You like 15 cute guys? Well, hop in the sack with them all, STDs be damned!" I'll probably go ahead and teach my daughter not to be cheap and easy but thanks anyway. 🙁

    • Jojo says:

      Yeah there's also the part that he respects you and you connect. You also don't get stds if you use contraception properly. It's not about being cheap and easy it's just don't wait till marriage because while that for some people it's not for everyone. Anyway what if you get married and realise you are completely sexually incompatible. That relationships is going to go down pretty quickly.

  9. annie says:

    Loved all but #6! And because of #6, I cannot share with my teenage daughters and their friends! How many times in our young years do we think that a young man loves and respects us?And that we love and respect them? I would like for my daughters to make the decision about having sex until they are more mature and understand the consequences. Sex changes relationships particularly in a young girl's heart. My advice to my daughters ~ Believe in yourself, educate yourself and find your way in the world! Think about sex later!!!

  10. KLyn says:

    Most of these don't sit well with me and wouldn't be what I would want to instill in my daughter. Some other ideas… 1. Don’t strive to be popular, settle for being yourself, settle into yourself . (Popular doesn't have to be strived for and it's not a bad thing. Be true to yourself, always)
    2. Eat your dessert every day. (Eat a bit dessert when you want dessert)
    3. Say No at least once a day. (Say yes even more — but most importantly be true to your word and always to yourself. If you cannot commit, be honest and decline).
    5. Know that you are absolutely right when you think that the calculus class you are taking is boring…and is information you will never use in real life. (Unnecessary)
    6. Please don’t wait until marriage to have sex.(Wait for love, a best friend, someone who truly knows you. Agree that an arbitrary rule or milestone isn't necessary but "makes ya laugh?" — a bit flimsy.
    7. If you go shopping and you like something, don’t buy it right then. (Why? What if you return the next day, you find the sale is over, the item is gone and you wish you had bought it. Decisions like this depend on several factors).
    11. Find Your Yoga. (or nature or your sweat doing something you enjoy)
    14. Always cheer for the underdog… (How about just "cheer"?… The top dog deserves love too for all of their hard work)
    18. If you only remember one thing, remember this: You are the most important person in the whole world. (You must always care for yourself first but be a person that cares for, gives to and has compassion for others)

  11. Joyce says:


  12. Amy W says:

    I've always said – "Your job as a Mother is to make your children NOT need you!" It is your job to train them to stand on their own and them give them the approval to go out and do it.

  13. Leese says:

    This is incredible wisdom advice. Real, True, Authentic and Freeing. Thank you x

  14. Frank says:

    Ouch. Tries to comes across as good advice but really misses the mark in lots and lots of ways, many of them, especially #6, as noted by others.

    My daughters (all our daughters) deserve a much better list.

    • Sarah says:

      I thought it was really good. I thought #6 was very progressive as well. So many people guilt their children, especially daughters about the sex. Isn't it time we moved past the guilting/sinning aspects that seem to pervade society.

  15. Indunil says:

    Amaizing to see those thoughts coming from a mother rather than a father…. i myself a father for lovely little girl.. i will give her exact same lessions except keeping her room clean..:-)

  16. Lera says:

    This is soo great!! I love it! Very inspiring. Can we get a PIN button on this?????

  17. Kristina says:

    Cried like a baby… Just a beautiful letter to some lucky daughters

  18. Will Lee says:


    It puts rockets on Mars!

    Whatever problems YOU have that give you no opportunity to use the calculus in your personal life, they are YOUR PROBLEMS. Calculus is both interesting, and ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO LITERALLY EVERYTHING YOU EAT RIDE IN MAKE WALK ON OR DO.

  19. Dan Frontera says:

    Had my eyes a little misty. I will share this with my daughters and do my best to model this for them.

  20. SuchitRs says:

    Sensible piece. Maybe point 6 u could have included that after u are an adult over 20 and sure of yourself

  21. Kimmy says:

    I do like this and it makes me think about my kids 🙂 However, one small thing maybe not so great….the very first one says “…settle for being yourself…” I’m not sure that I want my daughter (or son) to feel as if they are settling because they are themselves. Rather being themselves is something glorious and wonderful, not settling. Thanks for sharing great words to think about and keep in mind!

  22. Sarah says:

    I loved all off these. Besides the calculus ones. Usually if you have a good teacher that subject can be awesome. It's all depends on the teacher I found. I'm glad you had number #6. So many people are so restrictive. They do not realise it actually does more harm than good. I wonder if there would have been as many comments about number 6 if you had written this for your sons… You know just wait till you meet a girl (or boy) who makes you smile, laugh, respects you etc. I doubt people would have such a reaction.

  23. madaboutmelancholia says:

    God, I loved loved loved this. Thanks Rebecca. I'm breathing a little easier since reading this 🙂

  24. elinor lin says:

    beautifully written, loved it! thank you, i'm keeping it for myself and my future dauthers.

  25. Andrea Roy says:

    Not just for daughters!

  26. Michaela says:

    Wow, that is so beautiful, touching, moving. I am going to keep these tips close and tell everyone that needs to hear it. Thank you!

  27. Beautiful. I made a list of dreams and wishes for a child. This inspires me to post it. As girl children we are raised with so many restrictions and policing of our selves. Thank you for being an understanding mama!

  28. Aussie Suz says:

    Love this post…however I will be adding a little bit to the end of number 18…it will read
    If you only remember one thing, remember this: You are the most important person in the whole world to yourself but especially to me and your dad 😉

  29. Herbie says:

    Technically, if you’re on earth, you can never be 20,000 miles away. Just saying.

  30. Lkg says:

    I can understand that I won’t agree with your whole list, but the item that bothers me most is number 5. What an unfortunate piece of advice that just promotes the stereotype that girls aren’t good at math. Later, you enforce gender stereotypes further by suggesting your daughters should write; I suggest you read up on the scientific literature that shows the differences between boys and girls are insignificant in terms of either gender being better at math or language arts than the other.

  31. Bree says:

    My message to my daughter: Please know that if your calculus class is boring, they’re not doing it right. And I hope for you that you will have the opportunity to use calculus in the rest of your life. I’ve been far happier in my life when I’ve had jobs that stretched my mathematical side and kept me thinking all the time.

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