Bringing up the next generation to have balanced opinions, manners, respect for others, and to have a desire to achieve great and wonderful things for themselves and their family is a taller order than you might think.
For a start, how many of your friends or family are exactly how you want them to be? Unfortunately, it may be the case that there is going to be a certain amount of butting heads with your children as they find their own way to interact with the world. All you can do is try your best to guide them along the way. But what kind of guidance should you focus on?
When I was around 6 years old, there was a poster on the wall at school that said “Love Being You!” and beneath it was a list of aspirations that have stuck with me (mostly).
And now, I’d like to recall some of it for you, as best I can, so that you can pass it on to your child. You may want to print this advice, I already have (see cheapest ink cartridges in the UK right now).
- Individuality – love what you love and don’t follow the crowd, because other followers will always appreciate the leader more than they appreciate you.
- Be kind – once you’re in the treehouse, don’t pull the ladder up, because you never know when you might need help from other people who left their ladder open to you.
- Friends – don’t waste your kindness on people who don’t make you feel wanted, choose friends who ask things about you instead of talking about themselves.
- Humility – sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind, remember not to show off or feel too bad, but do try to remember the good times and forget the bad times.
- Generosity – giving your help to people who cannot possibly return the favour is one of the most important parts of being a person you can be proud of!
- Mean what you say – take the time to think before you speak, if you mean what you say, you can be happy that you have been truthful with your friends and family.
That is pretty much all I can remember. I do recall there was one other part about manners with an accompanying bullet point list that included things like holding doors, saying please and thank you, remembering people’s names (this is one thing I still haven’t mastered), and learning how to behave while eating meals at a table with other people.
Instilling values into playful children takes repetition. But the payoff, in terms of the young adult you will help to shape, is worth every one of your efforts.