As parents, we start teaching our children things the moment they are born. Sometimes its a conscious effort, and sometimes not. As they grow, we teach them to walk and talk. We teach them to count and to say the ABC’s. We teach them to read and write and add and subtract. These are all important. However, are we teaching them the things that matter? The things that really matter? The things they don’t teach in school? Here are 7 things we need to teach our children that really matter.
We need to teach our children to be thankful for what they have. Children need to learn to appreciate the things they are given, whether its toys and clothes, or even a snack or hug. Teaching children to be grateful is so important. First of all, they will learn manners, like saying please and thank you. Second, it will help squash that sense of entitlement that older generations always complain about in younger generations.
Growing up, my family didn’t have much. I mean to say, we had what we needed, but not a lot of extra luxuries. However, I was always raised to help others when I could and to give back. You can do this in a lot of ways. Maybe you donate money to a charity, or put in time with a local food bank. Maybe you just pay it forward when someone does a nice thing for you. However it may look, we need to teach our children to help others and support their community or school.
Take Care of Family
This one is so important. All we really have in this world is family. And I look at family a little differently than some people. Family can mean blood relatives, like mother, father, and siblings. Sometimes family is your in-laws. Sometimes family can be people who have no real relation to you at all other than a lifetime of friendship and support. However you define it, we need to teach our children to take care of these people in their lives. At some point, we all need a little help and support, and your family will be the ones to have your back, so you have to have theirs.
Spend Time with Grandparents
Now I know some families do not have grandparents around for one reason or another. However, if your child has caring, loving grandparents in their life, they are so lucky. We need to teach children to spend time with their grandparents. They will learn so much from them. They will be loved in a way that only a grandparent can. The bond can sometimes be so beautiful. My son and his grandfather are the best of friends. The love between them is unbelievable. They both treasure their time together, and I encourage them to have as much of it as possible.
I missed out on getting to know my grandfather until late in his life. He became ill and needed extra care, so I stepped up mainly to help out my mother. It turns out that my grandfather was an awesome person. In the few years I spent pretty much every day with him, I learned so much. I really cherish those memories and always will.
Have Fun and Be Adventurous
Life can very easily become overwhelming. As you grow into a teenager, and an adult, you become bombarded with responsibility. There is an endless list of tasks and chores you need to take care of. That’s life. However, we need to teach children that it is okay to have a little fun too. If you aren’t enjoying life, you’re doing it wrong, in my opinion.
So yes, it is important to make sure bills are paid, and homework is done, or proposals are written for work. However, we need to teach our children that it is acceptable to occasionally take some time for themselves, or their family. To do something different than their normal routine. Take a trip, plan an outing, have a nice meal once in a while. Do whatever it is they enjoy.
Basic Life Skills
This is another thing that is an absolute must. We need to teach children some basic life skills. The things that never ever get taught in schools. My goal for my child is that by the time he reaches adulthood and is out on his own, he will be able to prepare some meals, change a tire, write a resume, do his taxes, how to buy a house… things that are all required knowledge once you become an adult. These are all things that nobody in the education system teaches, or if they do, its an elective class and not required curriculum.
Follow Their Dreams
I really think we need to teach our children to follow their dreams. Granted, my 3 year old wants to grow up to be a firetruck, and that probably isn’t going to happen. But, the point is, encourage your children and their interests. Let them explore their passions.
Maybe your child will grow up to be a famous Hollywood actor, or on the New York Times’ Best Sellers List. Maybe they will grow up to be an accountant or a bank teller. Maybe they will even be President someday. Or a CEO. Or a world famous athlete. Whatever it is that they are passionate about, encourage it. You never know the potential that can be unlocked when someone follows their passion and their dream. Your child could change the world. They just may need a little support along the way.
Is there something that you feel we need to teach children? Something they don’t learn in school, but need to know? Leave it in the comments. And thanks for reading!