How to Have the Best Relationship with Your Kids

Before you start reading this you may wonder, why am I taking parenting advice from a 23 year old who isn’t married and doesn’t have any kids of her own. While I am not a parent, I am giving you the view that you’ll probably never get honestly, the side from the kid.

You too can join your kids at college football games and maybe even the pre game before :-)

You too can join your kids at college football games and maybe even the pre game before :-)

Don’t Just Say No: This is a hard one. You want to give us the world, protect us and make sure we have everything we need. It’s better if you trust us (like my parents do) and let us make our own mistakes. If you keep telling your kid “no you can’t wear that” or “no you can’t go there”, guess what they’re going to do? That’s right there going to figure out how to “wear that” and “go there”. Instead make sure that they know you trust them, saying okay you can do that and if you need me, if anything goes wrong I am here for you. Plus by saying no all the time, your kids just won’t ask anymore if they know what the answer is going to be. They’ll start making up lies to tell you so they can go where they want and wear or see who they want. Even for adults trust is a really hard thing to develop, so developing it early between parents and the kids goes beyond high school, it’s for the rest of your lives.

And maybe even take a trip with just your kids. You too can take selfies on top of Rockefeller.

And maybe even take a trip with just your kids. You too can take selfies on top of Rockefeller.

No Questions Asked: We had a policy growing up, we could take the car on weekends as long as if something went wrong or if we needed our parents we could call. Any time of night, for any reason – no questions asked. The most important thing is that everyone is safe, no one got hurt and probably a lesson was learned. My brother, sister and I almost never needed our parents to come get us at 3 in the morning in a random place, but it was always nice and comforting to know that if we needed them they’d be there. We weren’t totally on our own if something went south. Plus it builds the trust that you’re all on the same side and it’s not this horrible consequence if we tell you we did something wrong.

It’s Okay to Say the “A” Word: Especially for high schoolers, alcohol is something that they are faced with. Parents, don’t worry so much about this. The more you tell them this is bad don’t do this, you can’t drink- they’re going to be interested in why they can’t, what’s so bad about it. Plus, you keep pushing for them to not try it while they’re at home, with friends you’ve probably seen or driven somewhere and with parents you may know from sports or school functions- that means they’re going to try it when they get to college with kids you don’t know, from families you’ve never met, in a place that is foreign to both of you. Not safe. Encourage them to be smart about it. No drinking at a bar at 17 isn’t safe. Driving drunk is NEVER okay. And don’t push it too far, just enough to try it and have a good time. Trust me, they’ll get to college and it won’t be this big mystery that they need to spend a lot of time exploring because they’ve already tried it. And they’ll be able to control themselves while they’re still making friends and learning their way around.

I love my family, won't trade them for the world!

I love my family, wouldn’t trade them for the world!

It’s really these three big things that helped me to see that my parents, while yes they had the final say on things and yes I checked with them before making any big decisions, were 100% in my corner. If I need advice, help or just someone to drink a beer and relax with it’s not just my friends I can go to, it’s my parents. Try these three things and your kids might see you a little differently.

It’s Time We All Grow Up

Now as a working adult, one of the big kids, I notice more and more each day how easy it is to forget. You forget your keys, to send an email and about that important meeting, but those are the little things. What about what you learned when you were just a kid, still memorizing math tables and playing tag at recess. The truth is, most of us learned everything we needed when we were small, and the bigger truth is that we all forgot.

1. Treat Others The Way You Want to Be Treated

How many times did you hear that growing up? That if you had nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all and that you had to think about it from their point of view or putting yourself in their shoes as the metaphor goes. How often do we think about this today? So often do we only think of ourselves that we loose sight of the feelings and treatment of others. We’re so quick to frustration that we don’t realize we’ve probably been in the same position as the person on the other end.

2. Race Issues are Not About the Color of Our Skin

I’ll race you to the end of the park and back, first one back is the winner. Ready, go! You run your hardest, pumping your arms and feeling the rush through your hair and face. You tag the tree and sprint back towards the finish line where a crowd of your classmates has gathered. You look next to you and see he’s still right there, matching you stride for stride. Who wins, who stepped across the finish line first? These are race issues.

3. Keeping Asking Questions

Remember that cute and then really annoying phase we went through, maybe now your kids or grandchildren are going through where all they want to do is ask why? Well … why don’t we ask more questions? Why is this done this way? Why do you think that? Is there a better way? In class we were told to ask questions because chances were someone would have the same question. What happened, no one asked the question and look where that has gotten us. It doesn’t show stupidity to ask a question, it shows stupidity when you assume you have the right answer only to realize you were wrong.

4. Paint With All the Colors of the Wind

Disney was onto something when they had Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz compose “Colors of the Wind” for Pocahontas. The whole song tells the story of actually getting to know people even when they are different from you, and actually appreciating our natural resources for something besides what we can make with it. These are songs written for children, messages that children understand, so why is it so difficult for adults to remember?

5. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again

Looking into the eyes of the youngest generation, you want to give them everything, make sure that they have every opportunity. One of the biggest lessons you taught them to reach these opportunities was, to do their best and keep at it if it was something they really wanted. Making the basketball team, getting every word right on the spelling test or having the best lemonade stand. Why when the going gets tough, do adults just quit when children try harder? Why when two sides can’t agree, do they just sit in their own corners and give up working together. Can you imagine if two 2nd graders were partnered up for a project, even though they didn’t get along, would the teacher let them work on it separately? Hell no. They would make them work together because you’re taught to make compromises and work out your differences when you’re younger.

Take one more minute, remember your favorite playground game growing up. Remember your favorite ice cream bar when the ice cream truck came rolling down the street. Remember the fun you used to have with your friends and family. The make believe games you’d play. Remember all the wonder and ideas you had about the world. Now think about where you are today. Would that child, you from years ago, stand by your behavior today?

Children are wonderful for so many reasons. They give us hope, they make us laugh and as much as we like to think we teach them, they teach and remind us way more often. Take an extra moment and be patient with the person next to you, you have no idea what life they’re going through. Don’t assume someone should be treated a certain way just because of how they look. Be curious. Your way and your ideas may not always be the right or only way. Plan A doesn’t always have to work.

By no means are any of us going to be perfect, I know that I am not and I loose my patience with people all the time. That’s why I am writing this, to remind myself, to remind you and hopefully the person that you pass this along to, how we can all grow up a little and be kids again.



My Last School Night

It’s been awhile since my last post, but I was busy. In the last five months I finished my last semester of college. WHAT?! Tomorrow I will take my very last college final and in two days I will graduate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

I suppose now is as good a time as any to tell the story of when I knew I was where I want meant to be. When I was in 7th or 8th grade we came to Madison to visit for my brother to look at the school and audition for the music department. We parked next to the Humanities building. For those that have never been to Madison, this is notoriously one of the ugliest buildings on campus. Originally built during the nuclear bomb threat era it looks like a bomb shelter and has zero architectural value. Anyway it was April in Wisconsin so that means rainy/slushy and basically an extended winter. I sat in the backseat as my brother and mom ran through the rain into the ugly building. I watched as students hustled to class and into buildings. I looked up at the bridge that runs over Park St. at the engraving “University of Wisconsin – Madison”, to this day I get chills but looking up at that bridge and looking around that street I felt it. I wanted to be here. I wanted to walk over that bridge and be one of those students hustling through the rain to class. During my four years here every time I walked under that bridge I reflect on this trip my family took to UW Madison and get chills thinking back to that day in April and I just think, I made it, I did it, I am where I am suppose to be.  

Graduation Day with my parents, I love you both so much and wouldn't have the success I do without you!

Graduation Day with my parents, I love you both so much and wouldn’t have the success I do without you!

As I reflect on my time here trying to think about the lessons that I learned and what I will take away from the last four years, obviously I received a great education. I will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies and Strategic Communications/Journalism with a certificate (or minor) in Entrepreneurship. I took some great classes learning about subjects like why people form the opinions that they do, how sustainability matters to business, how environmental issues impact people and how to create a marketing or digital campaign book. But the truth is that college is so much more than the classes that you take, it’s about the people that you meet, how you spend the time that you aren’t studying or in class and the decisions that you make.

I met some of my best friends in college the very first day I was on campus. From there it snowballed into finding my family away from home full of friends from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, California and all over the country. We were there for each other’s first college parties and college boyfriends. We held each other’s hair back during those nights and stay up late watching movies when we just wanted to stay in. We took part in our first Jump Around together – and on Saturday we’ll get to do it on the field! They were there to celebrate the big birthdays and the tiniest accomplishments. The best part is that these friendships will last longer than the four years we spent on this campus. I hope every college student finds a family similar to the one I found.

Ever since freshman year one of my favorite sayings is “don’t let school get in the way of your education”. To this day I stand by that. Of course there are some nights you have to stay in studying (this night being one of them). But you can’t go seven days of straight studying and homework without A. losing your mind and B. missing out on the rest of your education. Going out and meeting new people, having new experiences and trying something new is what college is truly about. Those days spent wandering around campus or partaking in a pick up game of frisbee of soccer or going to an event you’re only kind of interested in, this is how you figure out what you really want to do.

I sit here at my desk, on my last school night EVER thinking back to my first night college. I had my bed bunked above my desk and dresser in a hot cramped dorm room. I looked over the Gordans dining hall looking west thinking I am here, I am a college student. Now… four years later I am almost a college graduate. How did that happen!? You have to treasure those moments where things feel new and scary. You learn a lot about yourself when you’re uncomfortable and in a new environment. I suppose that is what I learned more these last four years: I am capable of much more than I think. Even in my weakest moments when the world seems like it can’t throw me anything else, it does and I still manage to succeed and have time to sit back on the terrace and have a drink. When everything feels like it is going to hell you can’t sit back and feel sad for yourself you have to step up. You have to recognize everything you have accomplished, all the amazing people that you have met along your way and all the opportunities that are in front of you. College is about learning about yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. Living life with regrets is fine, just as long as you stand by your decisions and are proud of where they got you. My college experience was definitely a roller coaster full of the tallest peaks and the lowest lows, but here as a 22 year old on the eve of her last college final I can say that I would not change anything about my college experience.

I want to thank my professors and advisors who answered all my questions and helped me along the way. I want to raise a glass to my amazing friends who I would never have been able to get through college without and that I can’t wait for this summer and the rest of our lives. My amazing boyfriend who always has my back and believes in me. And lastly and most importantly my family. Without them I would not be graduating on Saturday and would not have been able to pick myself up after those harder falls. I love you all so much, your support means the world to me.  I cannot wait to see where my life takes me, but I know that wherever I go both my school and home families will be there for me.

In the words of one of my favorite musicals:

“Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!”


Most recently, as I begin the last semester of my senior year of college, I started writing for the online news site Beacon. Beacon is a subscription based news site. I am writing about environmental issues and why everyone should care about them.

Please feel free to check out it and reply here or on Beacon to let me know what environmental subjects you’d like me to write about. Thank you for all your support!

Beacon Profile

A Reflection for a Future Me

For college graduates, accepting their first “real” job is sort of like finding that “perfect” college home or apartment. You pick a location on or near campus that you hope you’d enjoy living. You find people who you hope will make great roommates.  And you select a home or apartment that you hope is going to make next year better than this year. Before you know it you realize that mice moved in when you did, your heater only works sometimes and the steps to your front door get very slippery no matter how much you shovel. The point is that you live with the decisions that you make and it all becomes a “learning experience”.

Roommates who have made my senior year incredible so far!

Roommates who have made my senior year incredible so far!

In the next year, my friends and myself will move to different parts of the world and begin life as adults and for the first time not students. As we interview, we have to tailor ourselves and our experiences for companies to seem more desirable for the position. Of course we all want to get hired, find a job and get rid of the stress this life transition brings, but what about me. What do I want? We do get to ask that, or at least we all should be asking that.  I keep trying to picture where I would be happy, what sorts of characteristics I’d like in a company and employer and what values mean the most to me. While I still have most…okay all the details yet to be figured out, I want to help the future me by describing who I hope I become and what type of job I hope I am lucky enough to take.

Future Brady,

I hope you have landed the perfect job and are maybe living somewhere warm (fingers crossed). It’s probably been a while since people asked you why you chose your major, but I am here to remind you in case you have strayed from the tree hugging path. You are a kind person and as you have grown up you have focused more and more on the needs of others instead of the needs of yourself. When you were first considering jobs, money was not a factor. Of course you knew you had bills to pay, but rising the corporate ladder was not on your agenda. You wanted to stick to your morals and values hoping that someday you could change how the world thinks and acts and be remembered.

In college, your resume said ” Creative Communicator, Enthusiastic about the Environment, and Working to Market and Speak for Nature”. These are the values I hope you still carry. It was important to you that your job reflect your studies so that you could actually use your degree and you didn’t want to work from some company that was not working towards sustainability. More important than that, you wanted to work someplace you were proud of, someplace working on environmental initiatives and encouraging others to do the same. A company that saw the need in the country and world and wanted to be part of the solution. I hope you’ve found it.

As an individual, I hope you are still a presence when you walk into a room and can still lead a group without being asked. I hope you are true to yourself and do what makes you happy- take time for yourself while you’re saving the world. Most important, I hope you are still laughing and having fun. If you have become one of those 25, 26, 27 or even 35 year olds that work all the time and forgot what it’s like to learn, explore and have fun- here’s a virtual slap for you! Try new things, spend time with family and friends and for god sake don’t lose that sense of humor!

From Freshman year to Senior year these girls have always had my back, 9B forever!

From Freshman year to Senior year these girls have always had my back, 9B forever!


At 22 I dont have all the answers, but I know who I am and what is important to me. Regardless of the job title I hold in… 7 or 8 months, I will put my values first and make sure the company fits me and that I am not settling. To the Class of 2014 and classes after me, take your time finding that future “home”. Make sure it’s in the location you want, with people you enjoy and becomes a “learning experience” you think of fondly and reflects the values most important to you.

Here’s to the rest of senior year with great friends at a great school! Woo!