Did anyone else memorize the hypothetical commencement speech by Mary Schmich published in 1997 in the Chicago Tribune? (No? Okay, maybe it was just me then…) My first encounter with it was when I was in middle school, in the Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II compilation. My copies of the teenage versions of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books started new but are now tattered from heavy reading and riddled with post-its tagging my favorites. I was, and am, a sucker for the sappy.
Baz Luhrmman converted the piece into a spoken word song in 1998 and re-released as a single in 1999. It got quite a bit of radio airplay in my teenage years so I can recall it with uncanny accuracy.
While wearing sunscreen is the safest way to enjoy the outdoors, applying it can be a nuisance. And applying sunscreen to toddlers can be downright maddening.
As I was wrangling wiggly toddlers to slather in slimy white goop, it struck me that applying sunscreen is a selfless act of love. It’s hard to appreciate not being burnt before you’ve experienced sunburn. Thus, it’s often a thankless job.
If you are hasty or haphazard in applying sunscreen to others, you aren’t the one who suffers if you miss a spot. They will feel the intense sting of sunburn. They will face an increased risk of skin cancer. You can apologize and move on, pain-free.
Except, of course, the guilt of seeing someone you love experience pain that you could have prevented had you been more thorough. As a parent, I attest that the anguish of causing your kid pain is worse than getting burnt yourself.
Invest in an extra container of sunscreen to throw in your car so you are never without it (in case of an impromptu park visit, hike, or picnic).
So after you lather your littles, take the extra two minutes to protect yourself. Do it!
They are watching your example. Years from now, they will graduate to being responsible for their own sunscreen application. Don’t you want them to love their bodies enough to protect them?
For more information about sunscreen, please visit: https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs