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Important Things You Should Try To Teach Your Children
A Mother's Love
My son was born at 2.17am on the 28th December and I will never forget going to sleep with him next to me at half five, then waking up less than four hours later, turning over to see my sweet baby snoozing softly beside me and feeling the sudden WHACK of undeniable, overwhelmingly powerful love and responsibility.
I looked down at my newborn and, amongst all the love within me, I thought; "oh my God... You are a PERSON. You are a NEW person and I am the one who has to teach you and cultivate you into a well-balanced, happy, educated and confident individual."
Once that had hit me, I needed to absorb it and it has taken me months to fully get my head around this incredible fact. The main thing I pray for is that, above all else, I will succeed in teaching my beautiful little boy the following ten things, so that he may always be happy in his life.
One: Compassion and Empathy
One: COMPASSION and EMPATHY is so important to me. I swear I was born without the ability to ever put myself first without feeling bad for it, and this is one thing I hope to teach my little boy, though I would want him to know when he FID need to put himself first. One way I intend on doing this is through keeping pets. This may sound strange, but children can learn to weigh their own wants and desires against the animals' needs. For example, a young child may really, really want to pick up, carry and stroke a guinea pig or rabbit, but the animal may be scared out of its wits. In this instance, the child would have it explained to him/her that animals can't speak and they can't understand us, so when they feel frightened we have to be extra gentle and caring towards them, in order to make them feel happier and this will allow the animal to trust us and become more friendly. Equally this also teaches respect and patience... And responsibility come to think of it...
Two: Kindness and Love
I always respect and appreciate those who are kind to everyone around them, regardless of how they are feeling or what relationship they have with the person they are interacting with. I really hope that I can teach my son that the feelings of those around us are just as important as our own, so that he can form strong friendships and never be short of people to lean on in life.
Three: Patience and Tolerance
Children generally find patience really difficult - when they want something, NOW is the best time to get it. By teaching them patience, hopefully they will grow up to appreciate what they have, and be able to wait for something that they are looking forward to while still having fun and enjoying themselves in the meantime. I've never been able to be very patient, I get extremely excited about planning events, and then the waiting drives me crazy!
Tolerating others is another difficult thing to do for children, especially for very young ones who don't have the vocabulary or ability to articulate to express when they are unhappy, irritated or angry and so they can resort to hitting, kicking or shouting to make their feelings known. It isn't generally possible to raise a child without them becoming extremely irritated by someone (or something) at some point in their life, but teaching them that tolerance is important, hopefully will result in a child who is more thoughtful and respectful of others.
Again, I believe the best way to teach this is by setting an example - which is easier said than done. Children obviously have wants and needs, but usually don't develop an understanding of the importance of being polite and respectful until they are taught by a parent or guardian that by being polite, kind and respectful they will get what they want (within reason). It is probably much easier to teach a child how to be polite and how to respect people when he is four than when he is fourteen... So my plan is to always lead by example in front of my son no matter what age he is.
Five: Joy and Optimism
Amongst all the lessons about how to be polite, kind, respectful, responsible, honest, loyal etc... Every person should be able to enjoy their life and be good to themselves. I want my son to be happy in life above all else, and if there is one thing I really dislike it is pessimism. I want to show my son that some people have lots in life, others have next to nothing, but everyone can be happy and success and happiness are NEVER measured by the things they own, where they live, how much they earn or how often they go on holiday. I hope that as he grows from a baby into a child, and from a child into an adult, he can learn to delight in the small things, live in the moment and be happy with his lot, regardless of how much that is.
Six: Confidence in himself, and also in others.
All too often people lose their confidence, and become a shadow of the person they truly are. Being yourself and maintaining self-confidence takes courage and perseverance, but ultimately will enable you to be a happier individual, who doesn't bow to peer pressure. Pursuing your dreams and staying true to yourself do really pay off, but both are nearly impossible without confidence.
Loyalty is one of the most important things to me, and whether it is to his friends, family or (eventually) his partner, I hope that I will have been able to raise him well enough that he knows how to be respectful, honest and loyal to the people in his life, no matter what.
I hope to lay down the foundations of a strong relationship between my son, his father and myself from day one by being honest and expecting honesty from him in return. As parents, we lead by example, and are constantly faced with difficult decisions in terms of being honest with our children - what, if any, lies are harmless? When it comes to a young child experiencing the loss of a grandparent, for instance, how do you put what has happened into terms they can understand, while still trying to protect them? Honesty is a constant challenge for parents to some degree, but by leading by example we can prepare them for their own set of challenges and hope that they will be able to come to us with their problems throughout life and feel they don't need to hide anything from us.
I remember very well feeling extremely sorry for my ex boyfriend, who I was with in college; not because he was unhealthy or had come from a bad background, but because when he began talking about moving away from home there was the sudden realisation that he would be paying out for housekeeping and living off takeaways. He would always tell me that he didn't know how to cook, iron, do laundry or even the most simple DIY jobs around the home. I just felt like his parents had let him down in encouraging him in the idea that he didn't need to do any of these things, that it was a woman's job, so why learn? - This may seem really unfair to many people reading this, but it is just my personal feelings. Of course, he could get someone to teach him these things,but I believe it is a parents job to equip their children with the know-how and the tools to go into the world, ready to manage their own lives.
Whatever he has in life, I hope my son will be happy and thankful for his family, possessions, friendships and anything else he is blessed with.
I will love my son until the day I day - and possibly even after. He's sleeping right beside me as I am writing this, with all his life before him, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been honoured with the role of a mother and blessed with this wonderful little person who now relies on me so heavily for everything.
Motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me.