There are times as a mom that you need to be quiet and listen and there are times when you need to speak– even when your opinion is not invited. Figuring out which time is which can be a little tricky.

Sitting in the driver’s seat of the minivan, I would say that my opinion was not exactly invited. I was carpooling my almost-teenage daughter and two of her friends to a volleyball game. They were quieter than usual, but still talking about the things almost-teenage girls talk about when they’re dead tired the morning after a school dance.

I had five minutes and a heart that was begging me to speak. So I did.

Hey Girls, you know how I love kindness right? Well, I just wanted to share a few things…

I went on to ask them how they felt when they were together. Happy, safe, secure, accepted. Kind of like in a bubble of goodness.

Remember how this feels… I continued. I urged them to lodge those feelings into their minds and then work hard to maintain the friendships that produce those results. Be the type of friend you want to have. Instead of making snarky or sarcastic comments to your friends, be thoughtful in each interaction and treat one another like a precious gift.

I had their attention. They were staring at me and dead silent, but they were listening and I could tell they were thinking.

So I continued.

And you know how sometimes people say, “I can’t” as in “I can’t pass this math test” or “I can’t learn Spanish” or “I can’t get a serve over the net”? I think when people say, “I can’t” what they’re really saying is “I’m not willing to work hard enough to make that happen.” The only thing you can’t do are things that are out of your control… like growing to be 6’7”. That you can’t do. Everything else is within your grasp.

You hear yourself speak more than you hear anyone else speak. Ever. And you listen to your own words more than anyone else’s. Our brains are tricky things. They begin to believe what they hear– and they cause us to act accordingly. You will eventually produce the results of what you speak. So speak good things into your life. Exchange the words “I can’t” for words like “I’m gonna nail it!”, “I’ve got this!” or at least “I’m going to give it my best shot.”

And when someone else tells you that you can’t do something or you’re not good enough or you don’t belong… well, that’s when you get to shake it off!

At this point in my mini-presentation (or should I say mini-van presentation?), I turned on my favorite song and we had a little shake it off dance party. It’s quite possible I’m the only 41-year-old woman with a girl crush on Taylor Swift, but seriously, how can a song possibly get better than this?

By the way, I did ask my daughter later that day if I had totally embarrassed her with my Taylor Swift speech. “Not at all, Mom. I think my friends just sort of expect that from you.”

Her friends expect to hear about kindness from me? I guess sometimes it’s important to share your opinion– even when you think it might not be totally invited.