For my next installment of Proms & Potties, I’ve been thinking about advice I want to give my kids (Jakester, 19 & LilyBelle, 5). My thoughts today really stem from two songs that are popular right now: Firework by Katy Perry and Perfect by Pink. Maybe it’s because I’m on medical leave and have nothing to occupy my mind except for THINKING NONSTOP, and it’s driving me nuts. Or maybe it’s because the Jakester is at such a frustrating turning point in his life, trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up, and the endless search for a college major. Or maybe because the LilyBelle is writing and drawing and being so creative, and I know that school will “socialize” it out of her — I want her to remember all this creativity, so maybe she can keep it.

Whatever the reason, I have things to tell them. I don’t want them to think badly about themselves. I want them to believe in their smarts and abilities and values that the Kevman and I have tried to instill in them. I mean, I know there will be times when they question if they made the right decision or if they can really get through tough times. But if they have something to fall back on– a mixtape that floats in their heads — then that helps. When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to listen to popular/rock music because of my parents’ religious beliefs at the time. I could only listen to Christian music — and while there is NOTHING wrong with that, I feel like if I hadn’t had that soundtrack, I would not have made it through my childhood. While this may sound like hyperbole, it’s my belief, and I find myself “singing” those same songs when I’m going through something rough. Every time I give my students the assignment to create a soundtrack of their life, I try to make a new list, too, but I always put some of the same songs on mine. Here’s one of the songs that I’ve had playing in my head since I was little:

I adore soundtracks — they usually get to the heart and soul of whatever it is you’re thinking about. I always check out author’s book soundtracks and movie soundtracks just to get a sense of what the “text” is about (by the way, the soundtrack for The Hunger Games looks AMAZING!!!!). I know I’m totally weird — some people have Bible verses that they lean on during tough times. I use music! I know — too weird!

The thought occurred to me to embed YouTube videos of my soundtrack so whoever read my blog could hear the song/read the lyrics; however, my list became 13 songs (pared down from 22!!), and I thought that was too cumbersome for a blog post. The songs are at the bottom if you want to play them.

13 Pieces of Advice for My Munchkins

1. Firework — by Katy Perry: Be confident in yourself    (I’m adding a video for this song after I found it last year and used it in class)

2. Perfect — by Pink: Talk positively about yourself even if you mess up or make a bad decision. No one is perfect!

3. It’s My Life  — by BonJovi: Trust yourself to make your own way.

4. I Don’t Wanna Be — by Gavin Degraw: You don’t have to change to please anyone except yourself (okay, well, and maybe your mom! haha)

5. Set Fire to the Rain — by Adele: Stand up for yourself, and be brave enough to let stuff go.

6. Time of Your Life — by Greenday: Have fun in life, and hold on to those memories when you’re going through rough times.

7. Mean — by Taylor Swift & Loser Like Me — by the Glee Cast:  You’re going to come out on top when you stay true to yourself.

8. Keep on the Sunny Side — by The Carter Family: Think positively!

9. Life is Beautiful — by Sixx A.M.: Appreciate what you have, and what you are giving back to those around you.

10. Footloose — by Kenny Loggins: You need to work hard, but also have fun!!

11. Down to the River to Pray — by Allison Krauss: Have faith in something bigger than yourself.

12. You Are a Tourist — by Death Cab for Cutie: Follow your passions!

13. Back to Avalon — by Kenny Loggins: You’ll get your heart broken, but you can find your way back (to love or a new career or hobby) <YouTube link>

**Bonus Track: Change of Habit — Elvis Presley: You are in charge of your life; if you don’t like what’s going on, you have the power to change it! <YouTube link>

**Bonus Track#2: Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen — by Baz Luhuman: Don’t sweat the small stuff, and be good to others! (The ultimate advice song!)


The long and short of my post today is that these are all the things I need to tell myself on a daily basis, too. So, what do you think? What did I miss? What would be on your advice mixtape?

(Oh, here are most of the songs)

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