15 Things I Want to Teach My Children
Attachment, permissive, helicopter, authoritarian; the list goes on and on. In today's world of "labels," the role of parent has been dissected, studied, analyzed and categorized, sparking debates, the creation of advocacy groups and an Internet awash with so much information it's enough to make your head spin. With all of these passionate views floating around and so many people claiming that their way is the "right" way, it's easy for the main purpose of the role to be swallowed up and lost in all the noise.
It had me thinking about what it is that I'm doing. What am I trying to accomplish with these three little beings? The most obvious answer is that I'm trying to raise them to become full grown, functioning, well-adjusted members of society. Beyond that, though, I started thinking about what it is I want them to learn. What do I want them walking away with after they've spent their most formative years with me?
I started putting my thoughts to paper and though, there are lessons even I am still learning myself, I hope that having them here, written down, will serve as a reminder that these lessons should always be the driving force behind my parenting decisions and nothing else.
The list will grow, evolve and change over time and as it does I will add it here. Maybe some of my thoughts are similar to yours, maybe they differ greatly. What's important is that we all start thinking about our role as parents and the lessons we want our children to walk away with.
1. You are loved: Despite your faults, despite your mistakes, despite what anyone else on the planet thinks of you; you will always have someone in this world that loves you more than they love even themselves.
2. The hardest lessons are learned the hard way: I can try and prepare you for what's to come. I can warn you, advise you and guide you, but ultimately, LIFE is your greatest teacher. It will knock you down, hold you back and turn you inside out. It's what you do next that matters.
3. You are responsible for yourself and your actions: Do not follow the crowd. Use your own god-given brain and weigh the outcome of every situation for yourself. Ultimately, "He told me to..." or "Everyone else was/is doing it," doesn't cut it. You will deal with the consequences of your own actions, your own decisions, so choose wisely.
4. Keep your word: Whether it's something small or life-altering, as it pertains to your reputation, your word is everything.
5. Define yourself: Know who you are, embrace it and live by it. There is no one on this planet quite like you; celebrate that and be true to that. No one person is more significant, more valuable or more important than the other. Don't allow someone to have you believe otherwise.
6. All things shall pass: Even the worst of disasters subside over time. The world keeps spinning and life keeps humming; know this and don't sweat the small stuff.
7. Be proactive: If there is something in this world that needs changing, be the change. If there's something about your life that you're unhappy with, do something about it. No one has the power to alter the past, but we all have the opportunity to change the future.
8. Work hard: You get out of life what you put in. There is no greater feeling than reaping the fruits of your labor. Know this and keep it in the back of your mind when things become challenging and you are tempted to throw in the towel.
9. Keep Calm: Learn to master your emotions. This is one of the most challenging aspects of being human. Learn to recognize your feelings and process them appropriately while staying true to who you are.
10. Perception is reality: You have control over the way you view the world and you have the ability to change it at any time.
11. Be open minded: Be open to that which you do not understand, do not agree with or have never experienced. You do not have to sacrifice your values, morals or beliefs to be a tolerant and understanding person. Step outside your comfort zone and learn from what ensues.
12. Be a life-long student: Never stop asking questions. Seek out the truth and answers to your questions. Never be intimidated by the unknown, and embrace someone that is trying to teach you something with open arms. It is ignorant to assume you know everything and a missed opportunity to be resistant to a lesson.