10 Powerful Life Lessons We Should Teach Our Children
The prime duty of parents is to prepare their children for life. And, the best way to do this is by imparting valuable life lessons to them.
By Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj
Parenting involves taking care of our children, granting them the basic comforts in life, ensuring their emotional needs are met, providing good education for them… we can add quite a few more to this list. But, more than anything, parenting means teaching life lessons to our children. That is what will mould their personality and ensure they lead good and meaningful lives. Here’s a list of 10 powerful life lessons to teach our children.
- Be honest: This is the most important of lessons we should teach our children – to be truthful. For, this one value ensures that your children will possess all other values. If Mahatma Gandhi was known for upholding values and principles, it was because of his honesty which was instilled in him right from his childhood days. It all began when he refused to correct his spelling for the word ‘kettle’ in his school exam on being prompted by his teacher. Therefore, as parents, we should ensure our children lead honest and upright lives.
- Work hard: Doesn’t the famous Aesop’s fable, ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’, teach us this? While the ant was busy gathering and stocking up food for winter, the grasshopper whiled away his time singing and dancing merrily. Finally, when winter came, the ant had enough food whereas the grasshopper didn’t have any. These days when ‘smart work’ seems to be the buzz word, let us teach our children the importance of hard work. For, ultimately, it is hard work that will stand them in good stead.
- Show kindness: Let us teach our children to show concern to their fellow-beings and be kind and empathetic towards them. Kindness will go a long way in spreading love and goodwill all around. It will earn them the respect of others and give them the satisfaction of leading meaningful lives. Isn’t that not what the life of Mother Teresa tells us?
- Consider others before self: In the materialistic world of today, this is an important lesson to impart our children. We need to tell them that leading self-centred lives will not be worthy of mention. Let them learn to lead selfless lives placing the needs of others before self always. For, if not for the selfless lives of so many great souls who fought for our freedom, would our country be an independent nation today?
- Value time: ‘Time and tide wait for no man’, goes the old adage. Let us make our children understand that once time is lost, they can never gain it again. Teach them to make the best use of the time available. Let them learn to be punctual. Also, let them never resort to procrastination. It will lead them nowhere.
- Respect everyone: Irrespective of colour, caste, creed or any other divide, let our children learn to respect one and all. Discrimination when it comes to respect is a sin. Whether it is their school van driver or their NRI classmate, let them learn to treat everyone equally with the respect due to them.
- Share what you have: Today’s children are privileged to have anything they wish for. But, do we ever teach them to share their possessions? Whether it is a bar of chocolate or a set of imported crayons, let us teach our children to share what they have with their friends, especially with those who are less privileged.
- Be patient: One of the most difficult traits to develop, patience will ensure our children enjoy good interpersonal relations with those around them. It will also help them exercise control over their emotions. Also, when they need to go through long waiting periods before attaining success, or when they need to invest a lot of time and effort in achieving something, patience is ‘the’ virtue they will require. What about Robert Bruce, who was hiding in a cave after losing a battle? Didn’t he draw inspiration from the spider which was able to spin its web after several unsuccessful attempts at it?
- Respect yourself: If children learn to respect themselves, they will enjoy high self-esteem and confidence. Teach them to accept themselves despite any flaws they may have. Let them realise that no one is perfect. Even through the lows of life, self-dignity will carry them through.
- Be humble: Most great men who have achieved great heights possessed this quality. True greatness lies in humility. Let our children learn this. Pride will only pave the way for downfall. A ‘chin-up’ or ‘nose-up-in-the-air’ attitude will never help develop our children’s overall personality. Also, pride, contempt and snobbishness will never win friends. Let our children remember this.
Here are 10 ways to teach these lessons to your child:
- By practising it in your day-to-day lives
- By narrating anecdotes from the lives of famous people
- By teaching him rhymes and songs on these values
- By pointing out to real-life incidents where these values are practised
- By having her engage in role-plays revolving around these themes
- By telling him stories which underline these concepts
- By watching films which highlight these values and discussing the same
- By putting up puppet shows, tableaus and skits on these topics during family parties
- By getting her to read stories and biographies which focus on these life lessons
- By putting up motivational quotes as posters on the walls of your house
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Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj