5 life lessons parents should pass on to their children
Father’s day is approaching and in my house, I actually won’t be with my family for most of the day. I figure this time around is okay, besides they have no idea what Father’s Day is, so until they’re old enough to make me cards and breakfast in bed, I think we’re okay. We went for their 18-month checkup and booster shot yesterday. They’re both weighing in at 30 lbs and due to their size are in the 97th percentile! Yeah, my babies aren’t babies anymore and it’s becoming more and more evident each day.
Every time I look at them or have to take “disciplinary actions” I think two things, 1. Will they remember this? and 2. I hope they never remember this. I want them to take away the good parts, apply them to their lives and remember the not-so-fun parts and learn from them too. If somehow I forget, fail or they stumble across this post before I get a chance to teach them, these are just a few things I want them to never forget. Maybe these will resonate with you and you can apply them in your own parenting style. So, here goes, here are my 5 life lessons parents should pass on to their children.
It’s okay to say no
Your time is precious and should be spent with the people that enrich you and bring you joy. For a lot of my life, I found myself saying “yes” to everything and everyone who asked. I didn’t know it at the time but I was getting burned out and all because I wanted to be the guy that helped everyone, came to the rescue and could be depended on. I don’t know if becoming a father was the thing that made me slow things down but it sure made me more aware of the few hours that I have in the day to share with those I love and those that I am obligated to by vocation.
We all have to work and we all need social lives, I know. What I’ve found is that saying “no” frees you up to do the things you truly want and need to do. You get to focus on what’s important – the things and people that really matter. Don’t become a hermit and start turning everyone away, just be mindful and thoughtful about how you spend your time.
Not everyone is going to like you
What do they call them? People pleasers? Yeah, that’ll get old real fast. It’s not your job to make sure that everyone likes you. Do you generally want to get along with others? Of course, that’s a given. But there will always be that one person or maybe a few that don’t quite “get” you and no matter how hard you try will never cut you any slack. Then, I remember growing up, there was this girl I liked, from kindergarten all the way through grade school.
I did everything for this girl, gave her the last piece of my chocolate bar, saved the swing for her at recess, I even let another guy go with her to the junior dance! I was quite the gentleman! In class one day, I asked her to be my girlfriend. She thought about it for a minute and then came the verdict, “yes”. She said yes! I had a girlfriend. My very first one. She ran over and told her friends and quickly ran back to me to let me know she was breaking up with me. I was heart broken and didn’t understand what had gone wrong. I’d had done everything for her and she did THIS to me.
I can’t remember the end of the story I can only imagine I spent the next few days crying in my room listening to savage garden or something. Sure, I could have chosen any number of random stories to tell you but I honestly thought this would be the funniest and would let you see that it doesn’t always matter who does or doesn’t like you. The point is this, whatever is going to happen, whoever will come into your life, always remain true to who you are. It’s okay if they don’t like you, as long as you know who you are and you have displayed love and humility then the rest is on them. If they don’t want to meet you half way, that’s alright, turn around and keep walking.
Don’t be consumed with the things others say about you
Remember the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? Well, I’m pretty sure they did a study about this and found it to be total crap. If you were ever forced to recite this as a kid then you know that truth all too well. Words do hurt. A lot. Growing up, I was the fat kid, the black kid, the kid that ate funny food.
It was a different time and we were very new to the country but one thing I remember is that those words hurt. If someone had repeated that saying to me but followed it up with something like, “…because I am strong, loved, cared for and will overcome anything you throw at me” then I probably would have been okay. But no, they just left it at that. What you find out, later on, is even though those words may come your way that they only have as much meaning as you allow them to.
What I’m saying is…
If you dwell on them and start to believe them then that’s when they start to damage you. Hear them enough times and you don’t know what to believe anymore. I’m here to tell you, don’t fall victim to their words. They only win when you let them in. If Nickelback listened to what people said about them they probably wouldn’t be a band anymore, which might have been a good thing. In my case, I’m still kinda fat, I’m still black and I still eat funny food, but I like it and wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Except for the weight. Maybe like 20 pounds lighter. But only because I want to.
Failing is a way of life, a rite of passage. You’ll get through this
“If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try and try again” This could not be any truer. Failing means that you haven’t got it quite right yet. I won’t bore you with quotes about Michael Jordan, Thomas Edison or The Wright Brothers, you can Google that yourself, but one thing is true about the outcomes of each of those people mentioned. They didn’t get there on their first try. It took failing over, and over and over again in order for them to perfect their craft, look at it from a different angle and really examine what it was they were doing.
I’ve failed my team by letting in that last shot on net. I failed that calculus class and had to take it again in Summer school, I’ve failed people that I love and in each case was able to take a step back, reexamine what went wrong and take a different approach the next time. I mean, I’m probably failing at parenting, we all are, right? There is no right or wrong, we’re just doing our best. But just remember, like we’re all trying to, don’t be so hard on yourself and when you fail, remember to not give up. Do it again and again and as many times as it takes to get you where you need to go. If you’re not failing it means you’re not trying. I’m pretty sure I stole that from some movie or something. Not completely sure, just go with it.
Love those around you deeply
By far, this is the most important lesson of all. This is not a “family first” kinda thing, even though that it is important, what I’m getting at is loving those around you and appreciating everything that they do for you and bring into your life. When others speak to you, listen like they’re the only person in the world. Love like you’d want to be loved and always be kind.
Remember these 5 (not always so) simple lessons and you’re sure to be okay in the end. If you don’t get them the first time around, don’t worry, there’s always tomorrow.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear from you. What are lessons you’ve learned along the way that have shaped the parent and person that you are? Leave a comment below!