There’s no doubt about it, parenting is hard work! The responsibilities of parenting can be overwhelming to say the least. There are a million and one things you will be responsible for teaching your child before they reach adulthood. From learning to ride a bike to obtaining their driver’s license, as a parent you will be their first and, in many cases, best teacher.
In order for our children to become independent productive adults, we must provide them with the tools that they need to succeed. One of those tools is a strong character. There are five critical lessons that a child must learn to grow as a person with excellent character. These particular lessons will guide many of the decisions they make in their adult lives.
The Value of Money – While it is quite normal for children to think that money grow on trees, children from a very young age can understand the concept that everything has a value. After all, why do you think a toddler is so protective of his toys? To him those toys have a significant value and he comprehends that he will lose that value should he no longer be able to play with them. While money cannot buy happiness (or so they tell me 😉 ), it can offer opportunities for us to pursue goals and dreams which make us happy. In order to make those dreams possible, they must learn how to effectively manage their personal finances. Teaching children smart ways to budget and save money is one of the best methods to help them get a head start in life (Creative Ways to Teach Kids About Money). People who are financially secure tend to have much less stress, stronger relationships, and are physically and mentally healthier.
The Courage To Do What’s Right – Unfortunately, we currently live in a time when our children are exposed to things like bullying, drug culture, and violent crime on an all too regular basis. It can be incredibly difficult to do the right thing. And since we can’t be with them all the time, it is extremely important to teach them right from wrong. It takes both courage and strength to speak up or be honest in situations that may be intimidating. But it is extremely satisfying to stand up for your beliefs. Children learn these behaviors from those whom they interact with most so it is important that those influencers lead by example. No one is perfect and mistakes will happen. But having the courage to make the situation right through honest communication will go a long way in teaching your child positive behaviors.
The Power of Diversity – There is a tremendous power in diversity. Diversity provides us with the opportunity to learn about the ideas, beliefs, and culture of other people. When we expose ourselves to new experiences we expand our capacity to be creative, to solve problems, and we become more aware of our own limitations. In addition to these things, being exposed to diverse groups of people also teaches us about what it’s like to love unconditionally. People come in all shapes and sizes and should be loved for who they are inside and out. It is my experience that children are born with an innate ability to love and only learn otherwise by observing the bad behavior of those who influence them. Teaching your child to live a life full of love will lead them down a much better path than a life of hatred and bitterness.
The Act of Kindness – From the time we are just infants, we are capable of understanding that our words and actions can make another person smile or feel better about themselves. A simple act of kindness can significantly change a person’s outlook on life and potentially even save their life. Kind words and small thoughtful gestures are fantastic ways to show a person that you care. Children who are taught to be kind also tend to be more considerate, compassionate, and giving as adults.
The Value of Hard Work – I am a firm believer that a strong work ethic is one of the most important values that you can teach a child. How many times in life has something been handed to you? I am pretty sure the answer to that question will be never. People who work hard and who are persistent are much more likely to accomplish their personal and professional goals than those who do not. Encouraging your child to participate in activities that do not come easy to them is one great way to teach your child about persistence and hard work. We are able to learn a lot about our own capabilities when we are outside of our comfort zone. Encourage your child to run a race or compete in the local science fair. Encourage them to stick with their pursuits and they will be rewarded with a great sense of pride in themselves and their accomplishments.
We are often so busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday life that it’s easy to forget how challenging growing up can be. It can be frightening to navigate life’s ups and downs. The bottom line is that in order to grow up healthy and happy, children need to be motivated and supported, but most of all they need to be loved and taught how to love.
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