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10 Life Lessons I Want to Pass On To My Daughter Before She Goes To College

10 Life Lessons I Want to Pass On To My Daughter Before She Goes To College

Words: Kuae Kelch Mattox

For many moms with graduating seniors, this summer means preparing their college-bound kids for the real world. With a little bit of help from Target and mom, we think they'll do just fine.

It seems like just yesterday that I was bringing my baby girl Teddi home from the hospital for the very first time. She was so tiny, with sweet rosy cheeks, twinkling hazel eyes and a head full of shiny, dark hair.

Kuae Mattox

Fast-forward 18 years, and here I am today, preparing to send her 3,000 miles across the country to attend UCLA. She has dreamed of this day and worked so very hard for all the good things that are coming her way. I have prepared for this moment—in my heart, mind, body and soul—for many years, and now the time has come for me to let her spread her wings and soar.

Photo credit: Jennifer Currell

Photo credit: Jennifer Currell

I was thinking about this during a recent trip to Target, probably one of several, to start getting things for Teddi’s dorm room. We have already set up her college registry at Target, so it made sense for us to start our shopping for some of the items she wants as soon as possible.

As she goes off to college, one of my greatest wishes is for my daughter to remember some of life’s most incredible lessons. These are values and principles that will strengthen her and sustain her, and remind her in the sweetest way of home.


1. Hard work pays off. It really does. So put your nose to the grindstone, do it well and get it done. You may not see the benefits of your hard work right away, but it will come. It may come in the form of praise, a reward or good news, or it may just be that you were personally fulfilled. Either way, you will be a better person for it. 

2. Often your greatest failures are the experiences from which you learn the most. It’s not whether you fail that matters as much as how you handle that failure.

3. Hold your head up high at all times, especially in the face of pain, anger and despair.

4. Confront your fears head on. That could mean acknowledging that you have a fear, telling a friend, family member, or confidante. Push yourself to do the very thing for which you are fearful. You will find that it will strengthen you in many ways. Don’t run away—or hide under the new comforter we got you—from your fears.

5. Success comes in many forms, and is best defined in the eyes of the beholder. Seek to define your own success, rather than letting others define it for you.

6. To whom much is given, much is expected. Open your arms wide. Share your unique gifts and add value to the world.

7.  Dedicate your life to others, but never, ever, forget about yourself. Find ways to nourish your soul, enrich your mind and strengthen your body. Prepare foods that fuel your energy and keep you strong. The Magic Bullet blender we got should help with that!

8. Cherish the love of family and friends. They are your village, and will always be there to love and support you.

9. Always be kind. Always.

10. In the end, there are three things that matter: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is LOVE.

What's the most valuable piece of life advice you've ever received? Let us know in the comments!

Get their dorm room ready. Create a registry at Target for your college-bound grad.