Happiness: 5 Life Lessons I Learned From My Parents

We are currently in between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and I am guessing that may be why my parents are on my mind. But also, the older I get, the more gratitude I feel toward my mom and dad. They have always shown me (and my siblings) unconditional love and a whole lot of support throughout our lives and I am sincerely thankful. The other day I was thinking on some of the life lessons I’m about to tell you about and it popped in my head to just write a post about this. Maybe some of these lessons that my parents have passed on to me will be useful to you in some way. Also, if you have something you’ve learned from your parents that you’d like to share, we’d LOVE to hear about it in the comments.

Lesson 1 from my Dad: Do the things you love.


I remember my dad singing and playing guitar at a very early age. I think the song that always, without fail, transports me back to my childhood is Cat Stevens’ Wild World because I heard my dad play that song many times growing up. My father is a really talented musician, although it’s not something he ever did for a living. And I think this is an awesome lesson that he passed on to me. So often I think we have this idea that if we don’t do our creative passions for a living, or if we don’t make money from them, then they aren’t valuable. Which is so clearly not true! I love that my dad showed me this through his actions.

Lesson 2 from my Mom: Choose joy everyday.

My mom is probably the most joyful person I’ve ever known. This doesn’t mean she’s never sad or doesn’t get upset. She’s human. 🙂 But she chooses to live a life absolutely filled with joy. And I think it took me a while to understand something really basic about this—that it’s a choice. She could decide to focus on the negative, or just consider things mundane or ordinary. But instead my mom will find so much joy in simple things, like an afternoon she can spend uninterrupted in her painting studio, or playing with her grandchildren on a sunny afternoon. From my mom, I’ve learned (and continue to learn/practice) to appreciate the simple pleasures of life for the gifts they truly are and I honestly believe this is one of the keys to happiness.

Lesson 3 from my Dad: Take a chance on the people you love.

This could be a very long story but I’m going to keep it short just because I want to get to the point, since it’s really the most important thing here. When Elsie and I were just starting out in our business, our dad loaned us money when no bank would. And my dad really didn’t have extra money to loan. He and my mom don’t live off a trust fund or something like that. They’ve always worked hard to give us the life we had. The point is my dad took a major financial risk to support his daughters at a crucial time in their careers. To me, this is such a picture of that selfless parent love that I hope I live up to one day when I have the honor of becoming a mom (#notpregnant). My dad is a pretty practical guy, but he showed me in this act how taking risks for the people you love can really pay off. Plus, I think his willingness to sacrifice really pushed us to work our butts off in our business. 😉

Lesson 4 from my Mom: It’s never too late to follow your dreams.

My mom studied art in college, and towards the end decided she better get her teaching certificate too, just in case. Later, it became financially necessary for her to work as an art teacher. And so she did for many years, but it was never really her dream. Once all her kids were grown and out of the house, this made her family’s financial responsibilities change. She took this opportunity to become an abstract painter, and now that’s what she does for a living. And she loves it! I think it would have been easy for her to think the time to start a new career was over for her, but I love that she didn’t. I think she was really wise to know that life is actually pretty long, and as much as we can we should fill it by pursuing what we love. She paints nearly every day now, and it’s obvious because she’s pretty active on Instagram. Ha! I love this example and hope that I’m still challenging myself and following my dreams no matter my age. After all, it’s just a number.

Lesson 5 from both my parents: Loving others is a gift (to you!).

As Elsie was preparing to adopt her daughter, one thing my dad told her was that some of the happiest years of his life were when he was raising little kids with my mom. (Cue the ugly cry! It’s so sweet, right? And we were NOT angel babies, believe me.) Watching my mom be a grandma shows me a similar thing. Life is never perfect—there are plenty of bumps and stressful moments. But loving your family, and I mean fiercely loving them in that selfless way that parents do for their kids, I think changes you. Obviously your kids need you (or your siblings, or spouse, or whoever you are currently loving as your family right now), but I think we all need to love this way too because it’s good for us. My parents have shown me the transformative power of love in many different ways—and I think one of the greatest gifts they have given me is the ability and the knowledge to know that I should love as much and as often as I can. Just like they did for me. I hope I do them proud.

I just read back over this and cried like three times. I guess I’m feeling sappy. Ha.

Love you, mom and dad!!!!! xo. Emma


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