If you could only pass on three words of advice to your child, what would you say? Last fall a silver charm at a craft fair caught my eye. It very simply read, “Spread Joy.” With a blog tag line of “sharing and encouraging joy in life,” this charm was meant to be mine. I put it on a chain and started wearing it as an affirmation of what I was trying to accomplish in life.
According to Wikipedia, “Affirmations in New Age and New Thought terminology refer primarily to the practice of positive thinking – fostering a belief that ‘a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything.'” More simply put, an affirmation is a positive thought that you keep in your mind and the more you think about it and believe in it, the more likely it will happen.
I thought about buying my daughter a charm, too, but what words or saying would inspire her? One thought lead to another until the idea grew into, “What about making one-of-a-kind affirmation necklaces for her as well as six of my nieces for Christmas?”
To do so I needed a little help. I asked each of my sisters-in-law to come up with words of advice that she would like to pass on to her daughter(s). The moms had no idea why I needed these words. I felt that if I told them it was for a piece of jewelry, it would cloud their word selection. The exercise proved to be challenging, because it forced the moms to reflect on the unique qualities of each daughter and to choose from their life’s book of wisdom one concept to distill into a mere three words. Of course, it didn’t help that I presented them with this assignment during the hectic holiday season! In different forms, they all managed to give me food for thought.
My husband, my daughter, and I spent an evening interpreting and shortening the mothers’ information, until we were satisfied we had captured the essence of what each was trying to convey to her daughter(s). That was the difficult part of the necklace-making project.
The easy part came next. My husband and I cut pieces out of a sheet of sterling silver, filed the edges smooth, hand stamped each letter of every word, oxidized, punched holes, and polished them. The stamped affirmation charms along with other specially selected charms were attached to chains and a loving letter of explanation was written to accompany each necklace.
What three words did I choose for my daughter? After a little thought, the words came easily to me. In Amy Tan’s book The Joy Luck Club there is a recurring theme: Know Your Worth. These are words I want my daughter to carry in her heart – she must never undervalue herself in any relationship or in any circumstance in life.
When all seven of these young ladies wear their affirmation necklaces, I hope they’ll believe in the positive power of the words written on their charms and that they appreciate the wisdom of their mothers.