Tuesday, 23 June 2015

13 Life truths I want my kids to understand


I'm by no means perfect at life, but I like to think I've learned a thing or two along the way about how to live respectfully and happily in this world. It's definitely an ongoing project, but it's one I want my kids on board with early on.

We all know that children are like sponges, absorbing what they see and hear in their environments, and copying what we do. It comes down to us to guide them in the right way. I think we have a huge responsibility in encouraging our offspring to be kind, generous and tolerant little humans, who can contribute positively to the world.

Here is what I've learnt to be important so far, and what I want my kids to know as they begin their journeys:

1. Say please and thank you

Manners matter at every occasion. Make politeness a habit and you'll stand out from the masses who forget to use theirs. The best bit is, using your manners helps you feel good and people will enjoy being around you too.

2. You don't know what happens behind closed doors

Don't waste time making assumptions about how other people are living their lives and why they're better or worse off than you. There is ALWAYS more to the story. Concentrate on your own backyard.

3. It's not helpful to judge

When we feel emotional, it's easy to cast a negative judgement about someone's behaviour. But try to walk in their shoes and consider their perspective. Being judgemental is unpleasant, and you may end up red-faced if you speak out of turn about someone and get put in your place.

4. Take the time to be kind

Be kind to your friends and go the extra mile when they're in need of support. Don't say 'Let me know if you need anything.' That's not friendship, that's a throw-off statement. True friends know what their mates need and do it without being asked.

5. Don't press send when you're angry 

Try your very best not to text or email when you feel emotional. It's highly likely you'll regret the intensity of your words, which can never be undone once they're written.

6. It's ok not to be good at some things

Enjoy the things that you are good at, and be open to learning more about the things you're not. Winning isn't everything. When you don't win, you get to reflect on your performance and plan differently for your next chance. Thinking things over is always a positive.

7. When someone apologises to you, say thank you

You don't always have to respond with 'It's ok'. Sometimes it's not ok if your feelings get hurt. But if the apology is heartfelt, saying 'Thank you' is a genuine way to accept the gesture and move on together.

8. Casual racism is not funny

It's vulgar, ignorant and plain rude. It's the same with homophobia and sexism. Saying something disgusting and then adding 'Just joking' does not make it innocent.

9. Be generous 

Enjoy sharing as though there is always more to go round. Learn about the charities that matter to you and do your bit to support them. You don't have to donate to everybody. Being generous doesn't mean giving more than you can afford.

10. Be curious about the world

Don't for one minute think that your immediate world is the only thing that matters. Travel the world, experience what it would be like to walk in someone else's shoes. Enjoy learning about the different cultures and beliefs that exist the world over.

11. Don't settle for 'good enough'

When it comes to your life, never feel like you can't achieve what you really want. Follow your passion and listen to your dreams -  they come true for some people, why not you? As long as you're prepared for hard work, roll up your sleeves and follow that rainbow.

12. Crying is healthy

In fact, all emotions are healthy. Don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise. The trick with feelings is making sure you deal with them effectively. Talking, writing, singing and drawing are all good ways to express yourself, as is having some quiet time on your own to reflect.  And yep, having a good cry is a fantastic way to release pent-up stress and sadness.

13. Listen to music

At the end of all things, there is music. Music is good for relaxing, motivating, dancing and singing. It's good for expressing anger, crying your heart out and exploring your soul. This is true throughout history and across the world. It kicks arse all over TV.

No way is this list exhausted! What would you add to it? Any important lessons you want your kids to know about being part of the world?

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