Lately I’ve been discussing with the hubby and some of our friends what it is we truly want to teach our kids.
Some things are obvious, others not so much. We all want our kids to grow up to be responsible, contributing, good people – but what’s the best way to make sure that happens?
I floated this with an older neighbor, and she suggested it was taking them to church and whipping them when they misbehaved… Not really our style, so I took it further afield. Women at play group suggested things like socialising your kids early and in a wide variety of situations, while other acquaintances said you had to give strong guidelines for every situation to make them disciplined.
I think maybe a few people missed the point of what I was asking – I wanted to delve into what particular lessons my kids would need to grow into great people, rather than how to deliver effective lessons day by day.
After a few of these dead-end conversations, I took it up again with Jerry. We brainstormed the things that we wanted to instil in our kids, and how we could do these well:
- Being kind and gentle. It’s important to learn this when you’re young, as it can be hard to remove bitterness or hardness from an adult. We thought we could start with getting an animal – showing the kids how to care for someone, how to be gentle, considerate and responsible into the bargain.
- Being honest and responsible. No one likes a liar or a flake. We don’t want kids like that, so we decided that as they reach an appropriate age, we’ll start giving them roles to be responsible for. Not chores, like making your bed or sweeping the path, but things like choosing a meal for the week and giving me a shopping list for it. Or volunteering with the neighbors when they need help. Things that will teach them to step up and be engaged in their own lives and the lives of people around them.
- Being hardworking and ambitious. We want our kids to be successful and secure, so we’ll be encouraging them to get jobs and to come up with ventures that will bring them income. We’ll help them set up savings accounts, regulate their spending and teach them how to avoid getting into debt.
These are really important aspects to us when it comes to raising our kids. We won’t get it right all the time, and things might not work out how we plan, but we’re going to give this our very best efforts.