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15 life lessons to teach your children (before it’s too late)

We’re willing to do anything to ensure a good future for our children.

We enroll them in classes.

We open a trust fund for them.

We make sure they’re doing great physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually…

Phew!

No wonder we’re always tired.

The thing is, many of the things in our checklist are unnecessary. Well, not totally unnecessary, but not absolutely important!

It doesn’t require a lot for our children to flourish in adulthood. Just focusing on a few important things instead of trying to have everything will be good for both parents and children!

But what are these few important things?

We asked our community on Facebook and Instagram for the #1 life lesson they want to impart to young children and their replies are just golden.

 

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Here are life lessons to teach your children so they’ll become awesome adults:

1) “Put your relationship with yourself first.”

Self-love is a requirement for other kinds of love. If we don’t have a healthy amount of love for ourselves, we might hurt ourselves, hurt others, and be trapped in toxic relationships.

When our children get older, there’s no assurance that you’ll still be around. There’s no assurance that their best friends will still be around.

The only person that will always stick around?

Their own self.

Teach them to never try to change who they are just to please others.

Teach them to ask themselves “Am I choosing me?” when they are in a dilemma.

Teach them to become their #1 ally and their cheerleader because it’s the longest relationship they’ll even have.

They should be their own bestie.

You can do this by listening to them and respecting their opinions and feelings. Shower them with love and give them encouraging words because your voice will accompany them when you’re gone.

2) “You are the boss of YOU!”

Society is not the boss of you. Be the best version of yourself no matter what!

We know from experience that as we get older, we are shaped by society to fit the molds they created. Anything that deviates from this instantly becomes “problematic” and should be fixed. Those who don’t fit the mold are misfits and losers.

What a sad world we’re living in.

Encourage your children to customize the life they truly want so they will have an authentic life. Afterward, guide them on how they can achieve their dream life and make it sustainable.

If they want to be a sculptor or a trumpet player, don’t say “yeah but…” Encourage them. Jeeezus!

We are not born just to have a job and pay the bills. Each of us is born with a purpose whether it’s knitting or saving the kids in Africa. We have to follow them or else we will feel unfulfilled for the rest of our lives.

You don’t want your children to turn into adult zombies without a life purpose.

To do this, you can help them unlearn the influences of society by introducing them to movies, books, and blogs about embracing your uniqueness and finding your own path.

3) “Don’t get caught with money problems!”

Yes, following your calling is important but it’s equally important that you can feed yourself (and your future children). OMG!

While you teach your kids to follow their passions, teach them the basics of financial literacy because it’s downright important. Teach them about stocks, filing taxes, bitcoin, personal finance, loans, etc.

Schools do not teach these things and it’s your duty as a parent to gift them financial know-how.

4) “Don’t expect a free ride.”

You’ll have so much pride when you work to obtain what you want.

Teach them early on that they will not get anything if they won’t put in something.

I know we want to protect our babies and keep them away from any financial discomfort that naturally happens in adulthood but doesn’t always save them. Don’t save them because one day you will be gone and when that happens, you want them to be ready.

Tough love is the way to go here. Don’t give them a lot of freebies when they’re young, and especially when they’re older. Don’t tell them they’ll inherit your business or estate. Let them work for their own success!

The goal is to raise independent human beings who can take care of themselves and giving freebies is not the way to achieve that.

5) “Seek a wise (wo)man to guide you”

Alibaba founder Jack Ma keeps saying in his talks that our twenties should be the best time to find a mentor instead of becoming an instant entrepreneur. Of course, he’s right!

Mentors have a vast amount of knowledge and experience. Mentors know people. Mentors have handled a lot of problems. Mentors can sniff bad stuff. In other words, mentors have wisdom. Not just knowledge — WISDOM!

There are career mentors but they might want to have spirituality mentors, fitness mentors, financial mentors, and many others. They are their guardian angels in adulthood.

6) “Play with every aspect of life with cheer”

Teach them to be 100 % involved in the things they do, but not serious.

While doing the most challenging things, it’s important to have a bit of humor and grace.

It can make you enjoy life even when you’re at the toughest times. This can save you and the people around you. And even if it can’t, it can make life worth living.

As Kurt Vonnegut once said,

“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”

We’re made to believe that we’re here to do grown-up things but in reality, we’re not even a speck of dust in the universe. We’re here to ENJOY life, even the difficult parts.

Teach your kids to not take things too personally. You can do this by being a good example to your kids. And of course, by not being too harsh on them when they commit mistakes.

Instead of getting grumpy when things go wrong, laugh! This will infect your children and make them do the same thing when they’re adults. And isn’t that a wonderful gift to give them? Your future grandchildren will thank you for it!

7) “A problem is not a problem, it is an exciting opportunity to learn something new.”

This is similar to #6 but this is more of a mindset. Teach your child that there are no mistakes, only opportunities to grow. Which is not a lie at all!

Every time they feel awful about something, don’t lecture them on how they should have done things. Instead, ask them “what can we learn from this?” and congratulate them for recognizing it.

Then wish them luck on the next challenge they’ll encounter.

8) “Choose friends wisely, you will become them one day.”

It’s true what they say that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

Of course, don’t let your child be judgmental of others but they should know that their friends’ actions and thoughts, directly and indirectly, influence them.

9) “Unless you’re kind to yourself, you won’t be able to be kind to others.”

Do you find your child always hating themselves and feeling embarrassed if they don’t perform well at something?

Are they becoming more and more rigid each day?

Notice how they treat their siblings. They’re likely tough on them too!

Encourage them to relax and be gentle to themselves. Tell them you don’t want them to have wrinkles when they’re 20.

Most of all, be a good example. If you’re tough on them, they will be tough on themselves and others, too.

What a great life it would be if there’s just one person who’s always kind to you. Tell your children that they don’t need anyone else — that they can be this loving force to themselves.

10) “Walk, don’t run.”

Why can’t we just slow down?

From the time we’re born, we’re expected to do a lot and we’re always rushing to the next milestone.

Wait a minute, is there some sort of contest?

Uhhh, NO!!!

Let them take time to smell the roses because it’s not all about goals and deadlines. We’re here to enjoy our journey. If we run, we can’t see the flowers on the road — just a whoosh of colors.

But if we walk, we can actually examine the beauty of each petal.

No one is more blessed than someone who knows how to live life without haste.

11) “Your potential is greater than you think, both for good and evil.”

Our children will become leaders in 20-30 years so influence them to be good ones. And even if they won’t run for senator or become the next Greta Thunberg, they have to know that each individual’s actions can affect the world.

Encourage them to do small things that can change the world whether it is simply picking up trash, turning off the lights, falling in line, or choosing to be honest.

Tell them that these little things will have a big impact on society if everyone does.

Tell them to imagine the kind of world they want to live in and ask them how they can contribute to achieving this kind of world.

12) “Never trust blindly that you are on the right side.”

Ah, yes! A healthy amount of self-doubt is very important.

If there’s one thing that every parent should teach their children to make the world a better place, it should be this.

Charles Bukowski once said,

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

Wars are started by people who are so sure of how things should be done. A good amount of doubt (and humility) is necessary for civilization to move forward.

But it can be applied to personal life, too. If you’re so sure that the other person is wrong, you’ll have no room for real discussion and improvement.

Encourage your child to always question the way things are, including you and themselves. Do not make them feel that they’re disrespecting you for questioning your rules and decisions.

13) “Nothing here is permanent, take nothing for granted.”

When we were kids, we believed that things would stay the same.

We knew our loved ones will die someday but meh, we’re pretty sure it won’t happen soon.

We also knew that we still have 1000 other exciting life events ahead of us and there’s nothing that can go wrong.

Well, guess what? This led to a lot of heartaches, didn’t it?

Sometimes, we shield our children from sad things because we want them to stay kids. But life will be out to get them pretty soon. They will have their hearts broken by a thousand little things.

We regret the things we take for granted the most.

Our silly grandfather who cracks a corny joke during dinner might be gone in a month. We have to appreciate him more.

We have to be very present in life.

All kids pay attention to life but as they get older, they start to focus on grown-up things. It is part of your duty as a parent to remind them not to take things for granted. Sunsets, the smell of summer, their life as it passes by every second.

14) “Treat ALL people with dignity, respect, and kindness.”

You don’t want your child to be an adult who’s rude to the cashier. You want them to respect people from all walks of life and not just those who are in power.

Nope, we don’t want them to be assh*les and bitchis!

You can do this by teaching them about inequality and how it affects people and societies. You can let them watch documentaries about LGBTQIA, about poverty, about lack of access to basic social services. This way, you open their minds and encourage them to become compassionate individuals.

If you’re doing this, you’re doing the whole world (and your child) a big favor.

15) “Be free in every moment of your life.”

How do you become free?

Freedom first happens in the mind. If you’re always worried, always scared, always angry, you’re not free even if you are living in a castle with 1000 servants.

Teach your child how to take care of their mental health and to have a good perspective in life because it affects everything else.

Introduce your child to prayer, basic meditation techniques, and mindset techniques to help them have a healthy mind and spirit.

You may not be able to shield them from actual problems, but you can at least make things lighter for them by freeing their minds from worldly worries.

So you see?

It doesn’t require much to raise an awesome, well-rounded human being.

All it needs is for you to lead a good example. Easy, right? Ha! I kid. It’s extremely hard because of this exact reason.

But you know what? You’re doing great. Each day is a good opportunity for you to teach them these life lessons, and you know what? You’ve got time on your side.

Enjoy each precious moment with them as you guide them to become their best selves!

Written by Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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