Kids are like sponges. They are constantly absorbing everything that’s around them at home, at school, at the mall, on TV…you name it.
I often ask myself if I’m doing enough to influence all that my kids are soaking up.
Sometimes I think I just hope they pick up on certain lessons in life.
Instead of “train up a child,” I’m trying to “hope up a child.”
But that doesn’t work.
The truth is you have to be intentional about teaching your kids what you want them to learn.
So, while we are setting our goals for this year, let’s not forget about our children.
Here are 5 lessons to teach your kids this year:
1. It is better to give than to receive. This might seem odd coming after Christmas, but something hit me over the holidays. Kids can’t just “turn it on.” This has to be something they are taught all year long, not just in December.
Giving is an attitude, not an event. I want “giving” to be written on my kids’ hearts, not their to-do list. And I can’t wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start trying to teach them that lesson.
2. Words have power. The way we talk to others is important…that’s true for adults and children. Speaking kindly, building others up with words, saying “thank you” when it’s appropriate – these are things that will benefit our children their entire lives.
Who would you hire to do an important job? What kind of person do you want to be friends with? Someone who builds up or tears down with their words? Especially in an age where words can be spewed across social media at the drop of a hat, kids need to know that words aren’t just words.
3. How to make good friends and be a good friend. I always hope that my kids make good friends…that they’ll find positive influences…that they’ll be a positive influence. I even pray about it often.
But I’m not sure I’ve ever taught them what that looks like. I mean, we aren’t just born knowing how to make friends, right? I’m almost 40 and I’m terrible at it. So, why do I expect my kids to be experts? I mean, telling our kids to “choose friends wisely” and “be a good friend today” is a lot like telling them to build a flux capacitor if we don’t teach them what it means.
4. No one thinks about you as much as you think about you. This is a lesson I learned way too late in life. Actually, I’m still working on it. I assume that since I over analyze everything I do and say, everyone else does too.
That means I stress way too much about what someone else thinks about me. That means I make decisions based on how I perceive others may react. And that’s unhealthy. I want my kids to just be themselves…not to worry about what everyone else thinks all the time.
5. Failure is the beginning, not the end. No one likes to fail, but it’s not always doom and gloom. Even though it can be extremely painful, failure is one of life’s greatest teachers. Michael Jordan once said “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that’s why I succeed.“
I’ve noticed, though, that most adults view failure as the end…as an insurmountable obstacle in their lives. It’s not. It’s only the beginning. Failure may redirect us, but it’s not the end. If we want our kids to be successful despite adversity, we have to teach them that failure is normal…that their dreams aren’t over if at first they don’t succeed…they’ve only just begun.
So, that’s my list. Do you have one?
If so, just remember teaching our kids is not a “do as I say, not as I do” exercise.
It’s a show and tell exercise.
So that means, if we really want our kids to learn these lessons and others, we’ve got some work to do first.
Well, I know I do…
I'd like to hear from you! What are you focused on teaching your kids this year? You can leave a comment by clicking here.