Over the years the most valuable lessons my children have learned have come from life itself. Lessons learned because life presented us the opportunity to teach them, to implement them. Rarely has any of them been planned lessons. I think that’s the toughest part of parenting – thinking on your feet and teaching lessons as they present themselves. No lesson plan, no planning, purely teaching what you know and from the heart. Some of the lessons have become things we live by.
Kill them with kindness. I’ve talked about this lesson in a previous blog titled *********. Both of my children have dealt with bullies and in my attempt to help them deal with them, I told them to kill them with kindness. That means taking every attempt they make to get under their skin and throw kindness back at them. Be kind to those around you, no matter the situation.
Bullying is never acceptable. I’ve also talked about this in other blogs. I’m very passionate about bullying and putting a stop to it. I myself was bullied and both my children were bullied. I’ve explained to my children that bullying is never acceptable. They don’t have to tolerate that behavior from anyone and they especially should never treat anyone that way. I always say “Do you remember how being bullied made you feel? Would you ever want to make someone else feel that way?” Answering those questions speaks so loudly to them and luckily we haven’t had many issues the last year.
You don’t have to be friends with everyone. I stand behind this strongly. Children are being taught they have to be friends with and get along with everyone. NO THEY DON’T. Children do not have to be friends with everyone. They are allowed to advocate for themselves and not be friends with anyone that makes them uncomfortable, forces the friendship, or treats them badly. I have made it very clear to my children they do not have to be friends with everyone. Who they are friends with is their choice. They must however treat everyone with respect, be kind, and not make be their friend. Along with this they learned not everyone will want to be their friend too and that’s okay. That’s their right to not want to be friends.
Always be humble. Children love to talk about that awesome new toy they got for their birthday or the award they won at school or the achievement they accomplished in sports. That’s great. They should be excited about that, but there’s a difference between humbly telling someone and bragging. I’ve always told my children it’s okay to talk about these things and be excited, but they need to stay humble. They should never want anyone to feel bad or rub it in anyone’s face. They have an understanding that not all children have whatever they’re bragging about or didn’t get an award.
Always be yourself. Another thing I’m passionate about. I encourage my children to always be themselves and tell them they should never change who they are to please anyone else. Not everyone will like them and that’s okay. They don’t need everyone to like them and they don’t have to like everyone. Always be weird, wild, free. What makes you unique is you being you and I think that’s very important. Always be unapologetically yourself and never feel bad about it.
Not everyone likes you and that’s okay. This goes with many of the other ones. Not everyone you meet in life will like you and that’s okay. Just like you won’t like everyone you meet in life and that’s okay. We can’t be friends with everyone. People are so different and have preferences in friends. Sometimes you won’t meet those for them and sometimes they won’t meet those for you. It’s completely okay. Just remember to be kind, show compassion, and spread kindness.
Be kind. All the things we live by include kindness. It’s important to be kind because you never want to make people feel bad or less than. You also can’t tell by looking at someone what they may be going through in life. That gesture of kindness no matter how big or small may just make a difference.
You are smart. Now I don’t know if it’s just my children or if all children do this, but they doubt themselves. Despite all my attempts to hype them up and constantly tell them how smart, creative, and amazing they are, they doubt themselves. Anytime they start to doubt themselves and their amazing abilities I have them repeat a mantra, “I am smart. I am creative. I am amazing. I have accomplished so much.” I hate hearing them doubt themselves and think they’re not smart. They are so incredibly smart and talented and can accomplish anything they put their mind to.
Always tell the truth. Words to live by. Lieing only gets you s far, but it always eventually unravels around you. Always be truthful and never fear repercussions because of it. Tell the truth and be kind about it. The truth will always set you free and you will feel better for telling it.
Never give up. Sometimes it will feel like you can’t do something. It will be hard and challenging and you’ll want to quit. You can’t give up. You have to push through. Why? Because the reward at the end will be so worth it. Imagine how proud you’ll be of yourself if you push forward. Imagine how you’ll feel when you you realize all you’ve overcome. Imagine the feeling of knowing you can do that challenging thing you wanted so much to give up on. You accomplished so much. Always push through. It may be hard, it may be challenging, but it will always be so worth it. When you don’t quit, you will realize how hard you can push and what you are capable of accomplishing.