2 bloody good reminders from my 13 year old

Our eldest daughter, Aspen, turned 13 last month.  There are key development milestones at 13, involving physical, emotional and social development. Whilst this can be a bit of a rollercoaster, for Aspen and us as the parents, I’ve realised that there are many great things about parenting a 13-year-old.  What I love most is that they have the ability to impart wisdom that stops you in your tracks and makes you reflect on the simple but important things.

This week, I received 2 bloody good reminders from Aspen.  These lessons came from 2 small, but powerful actions.

Reminder 1 – Show Gratitude

No matter where you look, there is always someone or something that is demanding your attention.  It’s easy to get caught up in being only task focused; attending to all the demands and putting out spot fires. Sometimes it can feel you’re doing so much giving but not getting much in return. 

Like everyone, I’m no stranger to demands and requests from others.  My kids are my biggest clients when it comes to requests… haha! But seriously, they are!!! Here’s a little sample… [texts from Aspen to me]


There’s no doubt about it, sometimes demands and requests can drive you up the wall.  What makes a difference, is when someone you’re serving, reaches out and shows genuine gratitude.  

This week, Aspen did just that.  She didn’t send me a bunch of flowers, nor did she buy me a store-bought gift.  She sent me this crazy little YouTube video that gave me the warm and fuzzies and put a big smile on my dial.

[Click on the image below if you want to check it out]

It’s the small stuff like this that can make a difference.

If someone has done something nice for you at work, or you really appreciate who they are and their acts of kindness; tell them and think of ways you can show them. 

TIP: it doesn’t need to be big or fancy!

Reminder 2 – Be Empathetic & Kind

Aspen likes to give a 10-minute debrief of her school day just before she heads to bed at night.  Last night she told me that she was nominated for class captain.  I was happy for her and congratulated her.  She responded with “no”. 

Me: “What do you mean, no?!”. 

Aspen: “I took my name off the board as a nominee”

Me: [perplexed]… “Why would you do that?” 

Aspen: “Well, there are a lot of people who want to be class captain, and for the last two years I’ve had captaincy, so I think it’s only fair to allow someone else to experience it”. 


Wowsers! There’s a display of empathy and kindness if I ever saw it.   

Empathy is a choice, and it’s a vulnerable one.  The challenge is that empathy requires us to recall or reflect on feelings that are uncomfortable. We’re recognising feelings like frustration, nervousness, or confusion, and trying to take that perspective with another person
— Dr Brene Brown

Everyone has room for more empathy, kindness and gratitude in the workplace.  This is emphasised by a survey carried out by SuperFriend:

  • 20% surveyed felt that work is like a community with people supporting each other beyond just getting the work done.

  • 92% of those surveyed, working in a best organisation*, agreed that employees are friendly and courteous. 

*Best organisations who promote optimal mental health and wellbeing and support their employees to thrive.

Sometimes we can get caught up in the busyness of work and forget these simple acts and gestures. 

We want to love what we do – yet for many of us our jobs are a source of stress, dissatisfaction and even loneliness.  It’s not good for us, and it’s not good for business either. – Kindness.org

You don’t need to wait for your business to start implementing wellness programs to impact your workplace culture; there are small but very powerful contributions you can make.

The rewards of kindness, empathy and gratitude at work are:

  • Feeling healthier and happier;

  • Stronger workplace relationships;

  • Less resources invested in conflict resolution.

Tip: deliver gratitude, kindness and empathy with authenticity.

So, there it is. 2 bloody good reminders from a 13-year-old.  I think we can all take heed.