When most of us discover that we are going to be parents (exciting AND terrifying!) we envision teaching the best behavior to our kiddos. We just know that our little sweeties will be the bright, loving, unique individuals we want to release into the world when they’re all done growing up.
It doesn’t take very long before we realize that not only is modeling good and perfect behavior really hard but hiding our own negative behavior is even harder. Kids can bring out the worst sometimes. But, they can also bring out the best.
Here is a list of the five things I hope to teach my children, plus one I don’t.
1. Be Kind.
What a blanket statement, right? But it really would change the world if everyone were a little bit more kind. I want my children to help those in need. I want them to be generous, thoughtful, and loving, even when others aren’t necessarily deserving of it. I try to teach kindness by being kind, but wouldn’t you know it, I am a human. I mess up sometimes, more than I’d like to admit, but I always- ALWAYS- apologize and explain my errors. Yes, even to my little kids.
It is outdated and incorrect thinking that young people are not deserving of respect. I apologize and make amends to my kids every time I am less than kind. I teach them to be generous by keeping my mouth shut when they want to deliver the warm, freshly baked apple cinnamon bread to the guys working on the house when I want to eat the whole loaf. Learning moment for me, too!
2. Have fun!
Life can be very dismal if you don’t make time to play, laugh, and purposefully have fun. Dance. Jump in puddles. Play in the rain. Make a mess. Laugh while you clean it up. I try to catch my kids off guard with a random Dad joke or a silly double-chin face, just to keep the laughter fresh. They are constantly making me laugh in return. If you ever get the chance to hear an infamous knock-knock joke around my house, you won’t be disappointed.
3. Eat the Cake.
Or cookies, or ice cream, or Snickers candy bar. I hate to sound like a broken record, but life can be very dismal if you don’t enjoy the little things in life that are delicious. There is always a reason to buy or bake a cake. Look– it’s Wednesday! Let’s celebrate with cake!
4. Take care of yourself.
This goes perfectly with point number three. Taking care of yourself includes eating healthy foods, exercising, seeing a doctor and therapist when necessary, and yes, indulging sometimes. I hope to teach my kids that mental health is equally as important as physical health and that there is no shame in asking for help!
5. Live outside the box.
Do not conform. We already live this by example in our home by how we choose to educate. Our kids are homeschooled, and they are aware that not very many people choose to homeschool their kids. We know there is not a one size fits all in the world, and they shouldn’t strive for ordinary. They should strive to live a life that sets them ablaze and feeds their soul, even if it is not typical or popular. We repeatedly tell them to look inside when making decisions instead of how others will look at them.
One thing I don’t want to teach my children:
Sadly, I, their mother, suffer from a heavy dose of self-deprecating thoughts and usually am not very kind to myself. I hope my kids do not take after me in that aspect and are able to see the amazing people they are. I want them to feel like the amazing people I see when I look at them. They know I struggle with my lack of self-esteem, and although I always remind them of their worth, I worry that I am modeling the wrong behavior when they see me forgetting mine. Society is a cruel beast and they have to combat so much negativity surrounding their image, so I hope they are able to win with a smile on their faces. I hope they never forget how truly loved and wanted they are!
What are your top five things you hope to teach your children?
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