Pick Your Hills Wisely

Dear Kid,

Have you ever found yourself in the mood to argue?

I'm not talking to you. DearKidLoveMom.comSometimes we don’t even notice that we’re in the mood to argue until we find ourselves defending something we don’t care about at all.

“I don’t care what you say, I’m not going to watch TV! I’m going to bed!”

Um. Okay?

“No, it’s NOT okay and you CAN’T MAKE ME!”


It’s hard to say why we get into moods like that. Maybe we’re tired, maybe we’re hungry, maybe we’re frustrated with something and our frustration is leaking out in different areas, maybe the stars are in the wrong alignment.

When we argue about things because we’re in an arguing mood, we generally need a break to recover, figure out what’s really going on, take a deep breath, or sleep/eat/run/read/whatever to rebalance ourselves. Or just to wait for the stars to realign.

Everybody is ignorant. Only on different subjects. Will Rogers. DearKidLoveMom.comSometimes we argue because we Need To Be Right.

That can important because in some cases there are things that are wrong (2+2=7). Other times, being “right” is a matter of interpretation or opinion (creamy peanut butter is right and chunky pb is just wrong). In those cases, it’s wise to think about how important “winning” is.

There’s a saying (that might be from the Marines according to My Friend the Internet): Choose the hill you’re willing to die on.

Meaning: Not everything is important enough to fight for. Or even to argue over.

Choose your fights. Live to fight (or possibly persuade) another day.

Love, Mom

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Change and Failure Are Not the Same

Dear Kid,

College is a time of change.

Life is a time of change, but college is a time of ultra-change.

First Attempt In Learning. DearKidLoveMom.comSometimes change can be exciting, a time of moving forward, tasting new experiences, refining who you are.

Sometimes change can be sad, a sense of loss, an emptiness when a friend or activity vanishes.

Sometimes change can feel somewhat defeating. Sometimes change can feel overwhelming. Sometimes change can feel like failure.

Changing your mind can be hard. Changing your major, changing your friendships, changing your goals can be freeing—or paralyzing. (Or sometimes both at the same time.)

But change and failure are not the same.

Failure is only failure if you allow it to defeat you. If you crawl under a rock and refuse to come out. It does not need to be permanent. It does not need to be anything other than a first try. Or a second. Or a third.

As an (extremely) wise man once said, “Change is not always better, but better is always a change.”

Effort Never Dies. DearKidLoveMom.comChange is just different. In college, you get to think of change as trying something new. Hopefully, you get to carry that perspective with you your entire life.

FAIL–First Attempt In Learning.

END–Effort Never Dies.

Keep going. Keep trying. Keep changing when you need to or want to. Keep meeting new people and tasting new foods. Keep true to yourself while stretching your wings. Keep in touch.

Love, Mom

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Elephant Appreciation Day

Dear Kid,

Happy Elephant Appreciation Day! Take a moment to appreciate your favorite elephant. DearKidLoveMom.com

Today is Elephant Appreciation Day! And who doesn’t appreciate elephants?

In order to help you appreciate elephants more (or to help you appreciate more elephants), I have helpfully compiled some Extremely Interesting elephant facts. (You can tell they are Extremely Interesting because I just said so.)

An average newborn elephant weighs around 200 pounds and stand about 3 feet tall. That’s bigger than you were when you were born.

An adult elephant will eat about 300 pounds of food a day. Personally, I don’t see this as a huge accomplishment, since there have been days where I’ve eaten 300 pounds of Oreos before noon.

Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing. John Donne

An elephant’s trunk has more than 100,000 muscles. Elephants use their trunks to breathe, pick things up, make noises, drink, and smell. Also to look cute.

Elephants are the only mammal that can’t jump. Which explains why you never see elephants on professional basketball teams.

Elephants are the only mammals besides humans to have chins. (I love that.)

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know. Groucho Marx

Elephants normally only sleep 2 or 3 hours each day, proving that they would make excellent college students.

An elephant’s skin can be as thick as 1 inch, so while they may not be sensitive to most insects or insults, they are sensitive to the sun. Rather than invest in sunscreen, elephants will cover themselves in mud or dust. Interestingly, they are scared of bees. Me too.

Only those with skin as thick as elephant hide can hope to sail through their teens unscathed by self-doubt and bouts of depression. Mariella Frostrup

Elephants prefer one tusk over the other (think of it as handedness except with tusks). About 100 elephants a day are killed for their tusks. That is not part of appreciating elephants.

African elephants have the best sense of smell in the animal kingdom. They can smell water 12 miles away and detect rain 150 miles away. Elephants would make excellent TV weather people, except they are smarter than the average meteorologist.

I have a memory like an elephant. In fact, elephants often consult me. Noel Coward

Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and have memories that span many, many years. This helps during dry seasons when they need to navigate to watering holes; they just pull up the memory and follow their memory GPS to the drinking fountain.

Happy Elephant Appreciation Day! Take a moment to appreciate your favorite elephant. DearKidLoveMom.comElephants communicate over long distances (except the ones in elephant college who are busy ignoring their mothers) by producing a sub-sonic rumble that can travel over the ground faster than sound through air. Other elephants receive the messages through the sensitive skin on their feet and trunks. Think of it as ground-based cell phones for elephants.

Elephants purr (like cats) as a means of communication.

Elephants can hear one another’s trumpeting calls up to 5 miles away. Except for teenage elephants who have selective deafness.

Love, Mom

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You’re Not Going to Believe What Today Is

Dear Kid,

Whose ridiculous idea was this?

Today is Lazy Day. Not National Lazy Day because clearly the inventors of this holiday were far too lazy to figure out the national implications.

I like the word "indolence." It makes my laziness seem classy. Bern Williams. DearKidLoveMom.comThey were (obviously) also too lazy to look at a calendar, because today is (yes) MONDAY.

And Monday is the exact opposite of Lazy.

Monday is Back-to-Work day.

Monday is the-week-is-sitting-in-front-of-you day.

Monday is you-just-finished-a-weekend-what’s-your-problem day.

Efficiency is intelligent laziness. David Dunham. DearKidLoveMom.comMonday is not Lazy Day.

Not even for children who don’t have to go back to college for a week or two.

If you didn’t get enough laziness over the weekend, I suggest saving today until the weekend and catching up on your lazy then.

Love, Mom

Ready to tell someone about DearKidLoveMom? Share the word!

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Listening — It’s Amazing What Happens When You Use Your Ears

Dear Kid,

You’ve probably heard that you have two ears and one mouth because you’re supposed to spend twice as much time listening as you do talking.

Even if it’s been around for a while, it’s excellent advice.

"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." - Ernest Hemingway DearKidLoveMom.com“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

There are times when it’s entirely appropriate to allow any thoughts that wander into your head to spill out of your mouth without running through any brain-based reasoning. For example, talking to the Puppy is a fine time for unfiltered thought. Talking to people, however, generally requires a little more restraint.

Not everything you think is suitable for public conversation. You already know not to go out of your way to insult people or to give your “honest” opinion when tact might be a better option. But there are times for even more restraint.

Sometimes, we think we’re entertaining someone with a story, anecdote, or parable that will improve their life or at least amuse them. You’re not doing anything harmful and the listener will get to find out how well spoken and erudite you are. Genius!

Except the “listener” is actually composing a shopping list for the party they are hosting in a few days.

Not so impressive.

Asking a question and then really listening to the answer is generally a much straighter path to showing how smart you are. After all, you’re smart enough to listen to the person talking.

Love, Mom


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I Only Exaggerate Excessively

Dear Kid,

Some folks never exaggerate -- they just remember big. DearKidLoveMom.comSomebody said yesterday that I am given to exaggeration. I prefer to think that I give exaggeration to the world.

Puppy: What does that mean?
Me: It means it means that when I said that dinner was the best meal I’ve ever eaten, it was really only the second best.
Puppy: So when you say I’m the best puppy in the world, I’m only second best?
Me: Of course you’re the best—I never exaggerate about you.


Some are born to exaggerate; some have exaggeration blogged upon them.

As I started thinking about exaggeration, I realized that there were zillions of words crashing around in brain, making it hard to even begin to consider concentrating.

If you add to the truth, you subtract from it. The Talmud. DearKidLoveMom.comPuppy: What does that mean?
Me: That I have a lot of words fighting for priority order in my brain
Puppy: Don’t you usually?
Me: Are you interested in being fed today?
Puppy: Napping. Saying nothing

That sounds like an excellent idea. I believe I shall take a 17 hour nap.

Love, Mom

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