I’m not a big consumer of parenting books. Truth be told, while I have picked up a few books over the years, I’ve never read one in its entirety. Rightly or wrongly, I subscribe to basic common sense in raising my kids. I had (still have, that is!) wonderful parents, and I’m hopeful that I learned parenting skills by osmosis over the years.
Having said this, it is almost impossible in this over examined life that we live to not take in the odd tidbit of parenting advice. Some time ago, I stumbled across the following quote: “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice”. And it resonated with me.
Let me digress with a story… Several years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a conference that my company hosted for corporate board directors. One of the speakers was an African American CEO of a Fortune 100 company. He was raised by a single father – a janitor with limited education. During his presentation, this CEO described how his father “brainwashed” him and his siblings into believing that they could achieve anything they wanted.
This was amazing to me – that a man with limited means and opportunities could not only envision a brighter future for his kids, but also convince his children of the possibility. He had clearly figured out a way to infiltrate their inner voice.
Anyway, it got me to thinking about the big life lessons I want to teach my children. I’m sure there are a million – but that’s maybe one too many for them to keep track of. So I tried to distill it down to a manageable number. Here is what I came up with:
- always chase your dreams instead of running from your fears
- it’s OK to fall; it’s how you pick yourself up that counts
- be kind to others; how you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you
- you can’t please everyone so focus first on making yourself happy
- believe in yourself; whatever you believe about yourself on the inside is what you will manifest on the outside
- surround yourself with people who push you, who challenge you, who make you better, who make you happy
I would be lying if I said that I always use the right words or tone with my kids. I lose my patience sometimes, as we all do, and say things that I shouldn’t. I am trying to be more mindful of what I say and how I say it (this sometimes requires me to count to 10 in my head before reacting to a situation!). I’m hopeful that beneath it all, my children are aware of my unwavering love for them. And I’m hopeful that in everything we say, and everything we do, my husband and I are reinforcing these big life lessons.
I’d love to hear from you… What are the big life lessons you think are most important?