Teaching Our Kids What Really Matters, Vol. 436, Jan. 11, 2018
I have become rather addicted to Quora of late with all the interesting viewpoints that are shared on a multitude of subjects. As I was reading it this morning I came across a beautiful answer to a question regarding something learned from an adult before they were 40 years old. The gentleman spoke about the simple life that his father leads, having a simple job, staying married to his mother until the day he died, while enjoying the simple things in life.
Well, it was indeed a beautiful post. However, there are some other things that I have learned over the years from working with our young adults when we are teaching our children what matters in life.
First, I don’t really know what happened to dressing in a respectful manner to ourselves, wearing clothes that fit us, that are matched, bringing out the best in our form. These days people will go out in bulky ripped clothes that look horrible, or Lycra clingy clothes that don’t look good on anyone as far as I am concerned. How about we teach our kids some self-respect based on how they put themselves out there in public? One day when they meet a person of authority who could help them get along in life, it could be the difference that makes the difference. Not to mention that dressing well, brings about a sense of self-confidence.
Second, we need to teach our kids how to figure out what matters to them, through exploration. Too often I have found parents who wanted their kids to fulfill their dreams, only to have the child fail miserably, utterly disinterested in these particular goals. Please understand that as a parent it is your job help your child explore different possibilities, giving them some guidance along the way. Please take the pressures off your kids that they need to fulfill your dreams for them, that has nothing to do with what they care about in this world. I have met too many families, especially in Southern California where the kids were feeling that they were on exhibit to prove their parents successful. That is not the kid’s responsibility. All it does is bring anger, depression, resentment, and anxiety to your child. With the increase in these illnesses, we need to be more responsible for our message to our kids. Help them aspire to be the best they can be doing what matters to them. Then perhaps we will see a decrease in these negative emotions.
Third, in a world where people are willing to do anything to have it their way, from the famous in Hollywood to the politicians, our kids need to be taught how to be kind and considerate of other peoples’ feelings. I really can’t fathom how a person could be considered a ‘friend” with the derogatory statements that are made to such a person. Teach your kids to listen to other people, to care about them and to share what they can. This is the only way we are going to be able to have a world worth living in and a world in which you kid wants to be a part. If they are being treated disrespectfully by the so-called “friend” teach them what true friendship is and give them the okay to let go of that “friendship.”
It is the little experiences of sharing a meal, playing a fun game or having a conversation with someone we care about, that makes life fun. We needn’t get hung up about the ‘big” experiences in life. It is the small things that matter the most. Those things that touch our hearts. Teach your kids about that, and you have helped to create a thoughtful kid.
Spirituality, not necessarily religion, is something that most kids don’t really care about till they are older. When they get to that age when they are ready to explore, nurture that exploration with them. And, when they come to their own conclusions, allow that to be. Faith means having faith in something unprovable. That makes it a very personal choice.
In this age of xenophobia, it is important to have contact with people who come from different cultures than your own. Travel is a great way to learn about other people of the world and in so doing finding out a lot more about one’s self. What one finds out, different then the cynical news stories, is that all people want the same things in life: safety, love and enough money to take care of themselves and their families. There is much to be learned from the various cultures of the world if we would only open our eyes and ears and allow ourselves to learn about them.
Most of all, be there to listen to your kid’s questions. Be there to help them solve their problems, and help them to overcome their hurts. By being a role model to them in this fashion they will learn how to be caring, loving people and that will stand them in good stead for their entire lives while making this a gentler world.
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