Try everything!

Whenever I spend time with Napa and her fellow YFU international exchange students, I am inspired. These kids range in age from 15-17, speak a myriad of languages and hail from a diverse array of countries and continents, but they all have one thing in common:

They all left their families, friends and homes to travel across the world and spend the year of their dreams in the USA with host families like ours.

I’ve written before about what an honor, joy and privilege it is to be a host family for one of these amazing kids. And about how terrific I think all of these YFU kids are. But this weekend, we had a meal and some mall shopping time with Napa and some of our YFU friends, so I am inspired to blog all over again.

While sitting at dinner, sharing stories about what they’ve each been up to in their respective host families and schools, one of the girls mentioned that she had started out on her school’s volleyball team, then moved on to basketball and is now getting ready to start spring track. This reminded me so much of our own amazing Napa, who started out cheering football, then cheered the entire basketball season and is now going to run track herself for spring.

I marveled aloud about these kids and how they throw themselves into the school year, tackling not just academics in a second language, but also all of these new sports and extracurriculars, and that’s when our friend said “I just think, why not try everything! We have one year here – I want to do it all!” I loved this so much, I wanted to applaud her words.

Think about that for a second: Try everything! It’s an amazing motto, affirmation or life mantra (and also a really great song by Shakira from the movie Zootopia.)

When was the last time you told yourself, “Try everything” and then actually followed that advice? Try everything means trying sports, foods, classes, jobs, hobbies, trips, activities and other experiences that are new and unfamiliar to us. This is, by nature, harder for some than for others. But for almost anyone, it is GREAT life advice. How many of us could enrich our lives, grow our relationships and expand our happiness just by taking on that “try everything” attitude?

In the immortal words of Shakira:

“I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
‘Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No, I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
‘Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No, I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail”

Try Everything truly is the mantra and song of the international exchange student – at least those whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet through our YFU program. I will always try to encourage and foster this attitude in our own daughter, even when it might be a little bit scary for me as her mom.

When was the last time you tried something new, different or scary – and do you make it a point to dive in and “try everything” that you can in life? How can we encourage our own American teens to take on this great attitude? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts in the comments below or over on Facebook.

About the author

Proud and loving mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog mom. Travel nut. Writer since birth. PR pro and social media maniac.

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