Probably the best way is through modeling the things you want them to learn. The second best way is through repetition of your message. But if your actions don’t match your words, children will follow your actions before they follow your words.
How do I know this? By watching my 4 year old son. I see him mirror me all the time. I love when I see him mirroring being polite, showing kindness, and thinking through problems. When I see him mirror bad things like getting overly frustrated or getting more angry than is necessary, that’s when I really take notice and say to myself, “Hey get yourself in check, Mom! He’s copying YOU!”
So when this happened the other night, it made me want to document all the things I want to teach my son. I’m sharing it with you here, not to say that this is the best list for you to follow too, but rather to spur you to come up with your own list. And even if you don’t have children, this is applicable for grandchildren, and really for anyone with whom you spend a lot of time. Be the person you want others to be and maybe they will begin to follow your lead in some small way.
What I Want to Teach My Child
- Love. Love is always the answer.
- Consideration of Others.
- Patience. With others and with ourself.
- Be Very Slow to Anger. Find ways to understand the root cause of anger when it happens so that it is a growing experience and a not a damaging one.
- Gratitude. Every day reflect on the gifts we are blessed with both big and small.
- Perspective. Being able to take a step back, see the really big world picture, and realize that things aren’t so bad.
- Be a Thinker. This is true smarts, taking things you learn in life and combining them with other things to discover new ideas and solutions.
- Respect Authority, but also Be a Leader.
- Respect Others.
- Frugality and Saving. This is the simple way to become rich in life. Live within your means and don’t buy things you don’t need.
- Charity. Both in material things and in spirit.
- When Difficulties Arise, Go Slow.
- Live in the Moment. Don’t always be in a rush. Work hard, yes. But, also take time to enjoy life. Find the balance between work and play.
- Hard Work Doing Something You Love is Good for You. But always remember to take your rest and enjoy life too.
- Stay Physically Active Everyday to Stay Healthy. Take good care of your youthful flexibility, both in body and mind. It is what will keep you young.
- Eat Healthy.
- Be a Good to the Earth.
- Find Support from God.
- When You’re Struggling, Ask for Help. Never feel that you are burdening someone. And and ye shall receive. It really is that simple.
- Always Be Learning.
- Failure is Your Friend.
- Family is Important. Always find a way to work things out.
- Your Time is the Greatest Gift You Can Give.
- Enjoy Creativity Often.
- Smile a Lot Every Day.
- Leave the Judging to God. Try not to judge others or yourself. Be kind. If other people are difficult, know that they are probably in some pain. Have compassion for that.
- Be Honest. Even when it is difficult.
- Look for the Good in the World and In People. You always find what you are looking for so look for the good.
- Choose Happiness. The basic choice in life is to be happy or not, so why not choose being happy? What have you got to lose?
Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers
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