One simple word with so much meaning.

I pray, gosh, I pray my children are confident. Not to be confused with arrogant, but I hope they truly are proud of the person they become. In a world where bullies are in full force, in real life and in cyber space, I fear for them. Over the holiday we had a conversation with one of Justin's cousins that's in 7th grade, she's 13, and she was telling me how awful Jr. High was. JR HIGH. Like adulting is so hard, being a parent is hard, having a mortgage is hard, Jr. High shouldn't be hard. It broke my heart. 

As a parent, it got me thinking that I need to figure out how I am going to handle a situation like that. The day that my daughter comes home from school upset because she was bullied, because her hair is different, or because she doesn't have an iPhone X in the 4th grade? Every time I see a story about a 13-year-old that took their life because they "had no other options", I lose it. I just pray that my children have hearts for other people. We will raise them to know that they are beautiful and handsome from the inside. I dress them in nice clothes, because I can, and it's something I enjoy. However, if I ever feel like that's overshadowing the beauty that comes from within, to the point where they think they NEED those things to feel beautiful and confident, we will stop.

Quick story: I grew up with bad self-esteem issues, I just always felt insecure in who I was. I went to a High School that had over 900 people in my graduating class and the cliques were endless. It was a district that was known for being the "rich kids", which there were, but there was also middle class and there was also kids that didn't  have much at all. Growing up, my parents weren't going to drop $52 on a crop top from Abercrombie or Hollister, so I'd be mad, and I would feel like I wasn't going to fit it with my friends. Fit in with my friends? What? Clothes made me fit in with my friends? As an adult, I now know what friends truly should be, and they could care less if I'm in J.Crew or sweatpants from Target, and that's how it should be. (FYI: I prefer the sweatpants)

My very best friend, Emily, at our Senior pictures in 2010.

 Anyway, I soon moved to the East Coast after my Sophomore year and truly made some of the best friends I've ever had. Friends that loved sweatpants, and worked part-time for their gas money, who's parents gave them a curfew and who truly cared about me as a person. I graduated with 252 people in my graduating class, and the cliques were minimal. Every High School has cliques, but I really feel like I could hang out with the jocks, the smart kids, the artsy people and the people that didn't really have a "thing" but were just super nice!? I thought switching schools at 16 was going to be detrimental, but it really was the best thing that could've ever happened to me.

That wasn't a short story, I suppose, but I say all that to say, I found my confidence at Patton High School. Once I realized that my beauty didn't come from spray tans and name brand clothes, is when I really started to find beauty beyond the surface. Not only in myself, but in other people as well. I think you're constantly striving to find confidence in yourself, whether it be your body, your career, or anything in life really.

I will continue to build my children up in their efforts to be great. I am always cheering them on for their smallest feats. I want them to know I am proud of them regardless of an outcome. It's important even when they fail, that they know they can try again. I don't want them to ever give up on something, because someone says they should. Raising children is hard in itself, but raising children to be kind and confident in who they are, that's what's most important. When the times get tough, we plan to turn to the word and show love, like God loves us, and only then will we know true beauty.

Us again, at her wedding in 2017, after giving my Matron of Honor Speech.

Here's to Patton HS Class of 2010 and to raising confident children.