I’ve been thinking lately about habits and about the way we create new habits. It takes a lot of work and determination. It takes time and self-control. It is not easy and oftentimes, we are easily tempted to give up when it becomes difficult. Even though I consider myself an organized person, I oftentimes struggle and sometimes I fail. I realize that the older I get, the more difficult it is to form new habits.
I am grateful for my upbringing and for all the healthy habits I acquired in my childhood and adolescence, and I realize how important is the education I got from my parents and how crucial it was then to improve my discipline. I remember my mother nagging me about cleaning my room or the kitchen, about keeping my books and my closet organized, or about helping my brother, and at that time, it all seemed annoying. But looking back, I realize that she was doing it for me, and I am now the living proof that it worked. All those skills and many others that she taught me, today are my strengths. I mostly owe my education to my parents and I can say that I’ve learned from them more than I’ve ever leaned form any of my teachers. Today, we joyfully remember together those times and I make sure they know how much I appreciate everything they have done for me.
I truly believe that it’s our responsibility as parents to teach our children to be compassionate and kind, courteous and forgiving.
We should teach them to stand up against bullying for themselves and for the weaker ones, and we should teach them how to handle the pressure of it. They should know that bullying doesn’t stop in middle school or high-school. It can continue even in the workplace, hidden under an intimidating attitude of a cocky, domineering boss or an overly self-assured and hostile colleague. They should be able to recognize bullying, avoid it, deal with it or ask for help.
We should teach them to listen carefully, hear what another has to say and understand – that is going to make them good friends.
We should teach our boys good manners and chivalry. Hey, call me old-fashioned, but I think chivalry is a gorgeous thing! They should carry the heavy bags, push the cart in the store, hold the door open, take out the garbage, kill that giant spider, offer his jacket, pull out the chair, and call when they say they would. They should know the art of courtship (at least a little), be trustworthy and just do those little things that show that they are the real deal. It may sound passe, but don’t we all want to be respected, protected and treated like ladies? All of these are going to make them good husbands and role models for their sons.
Then we should educate our daughters to have a career and be independent, but at the same time to know how to live in a relationship, to care, worry about and miss someone else. They should be able to listen and share their feelings and thoughts in an honest and authentic way. We should educate them to be kind companions and supportive buddies. Way too often, on their way to professional success and independence, many young women lose their sweetness, their warmth, and their femininity.
We should teach them to make friends, but to not depend on any.
We should also spend time with our children, and the more, the better. We should get to know them. We should find out what they like, what they don’t, what they are afraid of, what they are good at, what their dreams are. Research has shown that the average American child spends more time watching TV than talking to the parents.
We should also be able to recognize when they are sad, pensive and troubled, and they should always know they are loved and appreciated. That will make them trusting, strong and courageous. New study finds that children of parents who are warmer and less controlling grow up happier.
We should teach them to spend time with elderly people, listen to their stories and learn from their wisdom. That is going to make our children want to spend time with their parents when they are old.
We should teach them altruism, gratitude and appreciation for even the smallest things. It will make them happier souls.
I know there are many other things we should teach our children like justice and determination, as well as how to deal with money and the value of hard work. But starting from habits and early education, I just wanted to share with you some of the things I think are most important.
What do you think? What else should our children know to become happier adults? What else can we do for them?