Learning is a lifelong process. As a parent, you try to teach your child new skills and mannerisms that will help her later in life and be loved by her friends and the community at large. While some lessons are easily learnt, others take time.
We give you 30 important life lessons that you must teach your child to help her become a well-balanced, happy and caring individual.
A life lesson a day for 30 days of the month:
Be conscious of time: Teaching your child to value time is one of the most important lessons you will give as a parent. Whether it's studying or preparing for an exam or doing a household chore, he needs to know that there's a time for everything and he should always finish his tasks within the given time.
Be health-conscious: Teach your child to value and take care of her health from a very early age. Tell her that it is important to be healthy to be able to enjoy every moment and live life to the fullest.
Be money-wise: Learning to appreciate the value of each rupee from a very early age, will help your child with financial transactions later and will also teach her the art of saving money.
Be eager to learn: If your child is eager to learn new things at every opportunity, he will develop new skills and be more prepared to face different challenges in life. Knowledge is wealth and if your child becomes a lifelong learner, the benefits will be numerous.
Be respectful: If you want people to respect you, you must learn to respect them as well. This is an important lesson to teach your child from a very early age. You must also tell her to respect her peers as well as people younger than her, and not just her seniors.
Be friendly: "Lead the life that will make you kindly and friendly to everyone about you, and you will be surprised what a happy life you will lead," said Charles M Schwab. This quote perfectly sums up the importance of being friendly towards your peers and neighbours. Inculcate this life lesson in your child to ensure he leads a happy life.
Be grateful: It is important to teach your child to be thankful for what she has and grateful for the little gifts life gives her, like new friendships or a pet. However, teach her to value and be grateful for the family and friends she has, rather than a new toy or a piece of jewellery.
Be patient: "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet," said Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Patience is one life lesson every child needs to learn, in this age of technology and instant results. Teach them that while the act of waiting can be frustrating, the results often compensate for the troubles one takes. At the same time, teach them when they need to be patient and when they need to act fast.
Be a visionary: Through life's challenges and difficult times, your child needs to know the importance of looking at the bigger picture and being a visionary. It's important for her to think of the future and have a plan for where she is headed and what she wants in her life.
Be willing to take chances: "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life," said Muhammad Ali. As parents, we often worry about our children taking risks. However, some of the most crucial learning happens when we take risks. Tell your child it's okay to take risks, but he should also be prepared to deal with the consequences, in case something doesn't go as planned.
Be curious: "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths," said Walt Disney. While, as a parent, you are probably tired of answering your curious child's questions, she will only learn by asking. So, answer her queries and engage in activities that'll build her curiosity.
Be positive: Having an optimistic attitude will help keep your child calm even in difficult situations. It's an important life lesson to teach him the ability to see the silver lining in crisis situations. It will also help him overcome hurdles.
Be aware: Teach your child to keep her eyes and ears open and always be aware of everything that happens around her and in her immediate environment. As she gets older, ask her to watch the news or read the newspaper every day, to keep abreast of the latest happenings. This will improve her general knowledge and help her make informed decisions.
Be attentive: Teach your child to listen and not just hear. This life lesson will go a long way in teaching him how to focus and pay attention, so he can assimilate the information received to his advantage.
Be honest: Learning to admit to mistakes even if it is embarrassing or stating the truth even when it is not easy are very important values your child should learn. Tell your child that honesty may at times come at a small price, but it is worth paying it as it saves a lot of trouble later.
Be helpful: Helping the needy or helping friends or relatives in their time of need is an important life lesson. This will also teach your child how to empathise with people.
Be forgiving: Teach your child the importance of forgiving. That way, she can move on to matters that need her attention and she will be able to let go of all the negative emotions that can harm her.
Be original: There's a reason why there are so many copyright laws. Being original and unique is an art and children need to be taught to come up with original ideas and solutions to problems. By being original, your child will also learn problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Be brave: "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear," said Nelson Mandela. Feeling afraid is natural, but the lesson to teach your child is how to overcome his fears and tackle his problems head-on.
Be passionate: Tell your child that whatever activity he chooses to do or whichever career path he decides upon, he should have the passion needed to be successful. Teach him the key to success is to be passionate about doing well.
Be a gracious loser: Failures happen and there will be times your child will not make the cut. Teach your child that while sometimes he may lose, it's important that he is able to accept it and then move past it.
Be empathetic: "Empathy is the starting point for creating a community and taking action. It's the impetus for creating change," said Max Carver. Teaching your child to empathise is an important life lesson that will help her build valuable relationships and enable her to look at a situation from different points of view.
Be ethical: Learning to do the right thing, no matter how much time it takes or what it costs is a lesson you must teach your child. This will help him take the right decision and save him a lot of trouble in the future.
Be tolerant: Every individual is unique and your child must learn to respect and appreciate the differences. This will make her more tolerant and help her chose the right company as well.
Be calm under pressure: Not losing cool in high-pressure situations is an admirable trait that'll help your child in the long run. Teach her tricks on how to stay calm under pressure and tackle stress.
Be focussed: In order to succeed in life, your child must learn how to focus. Help him stay focussed by playing games that need him to pay attention to what he is doing.
Be wise in choosing friends: The friends your child choses can have an impact on her personality and her decisions. So, teach your child the importance of choosing a friend who is supportive of her achievements and does not bring her down in any way.
Be cooperative: Learning to cooperate with family, friends and authorities is an important life lesson. Teach your child that by cooperating and helping others, he can get a job done in half the time required for it.
Be an eco-warrior: Teach your child why it's important to respect and nurture the environment. As he grows up and becomes more aware of what affects the ecosystem and how he will start making responsible choices and will also be keen to educate his friends about the necessity to protect the environment.
Be an animal lover: Learning to love and care for animals is an important life lesson to give your child. If you can't give him a pet, you can teach him to care for stray animals or help out at an animal shelter during his spare time.
Life lesson for parents of today
"I think young parents take the easy way out of using an iPad or iPhone to keep their child occupied, rather than deal with his tantrum. Since physical punishment is a strict no, parents resort to these tech toys to keep the peace. Parents today, need to be strict and restrict the time their child spends on gadgets. Since banning technology is not possible, it's use should be encouraged in moderation." - Marianne Furtado De Nazareth, adjunct faculty, St. Joseph's PG College of Mass Communication, Bangalore.
Be patient if your child is taking time to understand the importance of certain life lessons. Be a good role model and he will imitate and learn from you.