Excerpt: I remember a time when I was sitting with Eve, a very dear and very elderly friend who was dying. On her bedside table, I found an article about four messages that people need to communicate to find peace with those who have been important in their lives. These four messages are: “I love you, I am sorry, I forgive you, and Thank you!”

I remembered holding Eve’s hand and thinking, “Why wait?” To keep emotional safety throughout our lives, we should not wait until we are dying to communicate these four important messages to others or to ourselves – especially in times when it can be hard to overcome anger, sadness, embarrassment, or disagreements. Here are some ways to find it ourselves to offer these messages to the people most important to us – even when it is hard:


Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Executive Director and Founder

Irene van der Zande,
Kidpower Executive Director and Founder

Early one morning last week, on a dark rainy day (for which we are deeply thankful here in California), I flew to Los Angeles. As our airplane lifted above the clouds, I suddenly could see the most gorgeous sunrise. I looked down in wonder at the rays of sunlight shining through the deep pink clouds and hills below, and a memory popped into my head from several years ago.

I was sitting with Eve, a very dear and very elderly friend who was dying. On her bedside table, I found an article about four messages that people need to communicate to find peace with those who have been important in their lives. These four messages are: “I love you, I am sorry, I forgive you, and Thank you!”

Peering through the airplane window at the magnificent sky, I remembered holding Eve’s hand and thinking, “Why wait?”

To keep emotional safety throughout our lives, we should not wait until we are dying to communicate these four important messages to others or to ourselves:

1. “I love you!” We need to make sure that the people we love know that we love them. They cannot read our minds. And people forget, especially when the busy-ness of everyday life gets in the way. Although we might have told them yesterday, we still need to tell them again today.

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Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; and The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People.

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