In the wise words of Franklin Roosevelt, the 32nd and longest-serving United States (US) president, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future”. A profound statement!
Instilling good values in your children will give them a good chance of overcoming life hurdles which they are certain to come across in future as they grow and become independent.
And the most effective way to teach your children lessons about life is through your own actions, not necessarily telling them. Children learn more through observation.
Here are the most important life lessons you can teach your children to build them for the future…
The lesson of managing resources (like money)
Children have the tendency to be wasteful. And this is because they do not understand the value of resources (such as money), and the hard work it takes to get it.
As such, the onus is on parents to make their children understand that money is to be properly managed, and not spent or wasted as it comes.
As a parent, you should lead by example by not being wasteful or an impulsive buyer. Children should be taught to always draw up a budget and live within means per time and not live a champagne lifestyle on a Coca-Cola income.
And as a parent, don’t spend your income before it even arrives, children keep up these little things unconsciously and it forms them.
The lesson of discipline
Children should learn to self regulate and self motivate themselves, and not wait for someone else to push them or make them do the things they are supposed to do.
Discipline is more about ‘when’ than ‘what’.
Teach your children to wake when they should (start by doing so yourself), do their homework when they should do and not oversleep, over eat or play when they are not supposed to.
Also, teach your children how to manage their time effectively. There will be always be 24 hours in a day no matter how much or little work one has to do. The key is to know how to get the best out of every second, minute and hour.
This will come in very handy later.
The lesson of honesty
Children can find telling lies fun, especially what some call little lies.
As a parent, you should, by example, teach your children to tell the truth, come what may.
The sad reality about lying is that once you start, it is difficult to stop because one lie can’t stand on its own, it needs supporting lies to be bought.
For example, if you say I got to class at 8am (when you actually arrived at 9:30am), and you’re asked who you met in class then, you’d have to invent another lie. And it continues that way until one truth unsits all of it.
The lesson of compassion
Deliberately teach your children to be kind to people regardless of their class, status or background.
Help your children develop the capacity to be compassionate and be charitable. After all, givers never lack!
Acts of kindness to others always find their way back to our lives. Somehow some way, they never go unrewarded.
The lesson of humility
Pride goes before a fall, reads a known scripture.
The proud thinks he is the most important person on earth, forgetting that a lot of people contributed to his achievement.
No matter how much we accomplish, we had help from other people. So, what’s the basis for being proud? Children need to understand that wherever they are is only a privilege, not necessarily because they are better.
The lesson of independence
One truth you must, as a parent, let your children understand early is that mummy and daddy will not always be there for them. That a time will come that they will have to get things done themselves.
If you fail to make your children think for themselves and become independent, you’d have a grown up son or daughter who runs back to you at every hurdle.
You’d have succeeded in raising a grown up baby and not a man or woman.
Teach them to be responsible for their actions!
The lesson of losing and winning gracefully
Failure is not always fatal, it is just a matter of perspective.
The famous Thomas Edison remarked that when you don’t succeed, you didn’t fail, rather you learnt how not to do it. So, dust yourself up, re-strategise, improve and relaunch. Don’t be a bad loser and sulk when you do. Also, don’t rub your victory in the face of your opponent. Be sportsmanlike.
Children need to understand this lesson about life.
The lesson of hard work
Diligent people will always rise to the top. This is a key lesson about life. Children need to understand that they need much more than just skill or know-how to be successful, they need to be diligent.
Never be lazy, work hard and be persistent in your dealings and have your children follow suit.
The lesson of respect for others
Every human deserves a measure of respect and courtesy, children need to understand that.
Showing respect doesn’t necessarily mean the other person is above or better than you, rather it is a reflection of your mentality. Being respectful or not says more about you than of the other person.
Be courteous! Never look down on people.
The lesson of fearing God
The single most important lesson you can teach your children is to fear God. Fear in this case implies reverence, not being terrified or afraid.
The fear of God covers all – it keeps you in check. The most important thing any parent can give to their child is a sound relationship with God. Teach your children to trust God and not solely on their abilities. Make them understand that as humans we are limited and every now and then, we’d have to leverage on God’s help.
- MICHAEL NWOKIKE