Strong, Kind and Important

04/29/2016 04:16 pm ET Updated Apr 30, 2017

Getting out of the house to school in the morning with three kids is a challenge. "Come down here." "Is that shirt clean?" "Did you eat breakfast?" "You forgot your lunch!" But once we climb into the van, there is a tradition I began years ago that carries on. I start some sentences that they finish or questions that they answer.

"Believe in..." "Yourself!"

"Choose your friends..." "Wisely!"

"Does everyone know that they are strong, kind and important?" "Yes!"

"Does everyone know that I love them?" "Yes!"

"Does everyone know that how you act after a mistake can make it better or worse?" "Yes!"

"Does everyone know that the adults are in charge and we need to respect them?" "Yes!"

"Does everyone know that you should be yourself and find your tribe?" "Yes!"

And then we drive on. Listening to the radio. Or to my oldest playing the ukulele. Sometimes we chat.

We pull into the Kiss 'n Ride at the school, and they jump out onto the sidewalk like little Navy Seals. As I watch them run (or saunter) towards their friends my heart always breaks a little bit. Will they make the right decisions? Will they be leaders or will they follow the pack? Will they be able to accept failure and learn from it? Will they listen? Will they hear? But most importantly, will they stay true to themselves in a world that can be tough and judgmental? Will they know that they are awesome just the way they are? Will they keep that curiosity and passion for new ideas even when others whisper that they might as well just settle for mediocrity?

It's out of my hands. But I hope they remember those morning car rides and know that life is beautiful and they can do anything they want with it.