When I ask parents in our online community, ‘What’s raising kids all about? Why are you doing it? What are you trying to achieve?’
The answer is normally, ‘We’re trying to raise happy, healthy kids. We want our kids to be decent human beings.’ But when we are knee deep in family life, it can be difficult to keep an eye on the bigger picture.
We are so focused on everything that needs to be done in our never-ending to-do list, and we’re responding to the daily dramas that inevitably arise throughout the day.
But keeping an eye on the bigger picture can help us with the day-to-day.
That’s why it’s worth stopping and considering: How do kids learn to be decent human beings? And what is a good, well rounded, happy, healthy person?
This is what I focus on with my kids:
1. I want my kids to be able to develop good relationships
Relationships make the world go around. I want my kids to develop the skills to make friends, be a good friend, care for others, share and show their love. They don’t have to be liked by everyone. But they do need the skills to develop friendships.
2. I want my kids to be good at communicating
Communication is so important for good relationships. It involves being self-aware so you know when your own issues are getting in the way of good communication, listening and knowing when to stop talking, and seeing the world from the other person’s point of view.
3. I want my kids to be life-long learners
I haven’t stopped learning, and I hope I never do. In fact, parenting has helped me to learn even more about life and myself. I want my kids to also love learning. I want them to try new things, make mistakes, learn, and keep on learning.
4. I want my kids to value themselves and others
I want my kids to have self-worth. I want them to be aware of their own unique strengths and character, and I want them to believe that they have something valuable to contribute to life. I’d also like them to appreciate and value other people’s unique qualities.
5. I want my kids to enjoy
Sometimes I forget to have fun. I’d like my kids to always find ways to share a laugh, have fun, and love life.
So how can we teach our kids to live a happy and healthy life?
Kids learn by trying and doing and by watching and observing.
So we can help our kids by encouraging them to be and do: Communicate with love, try new things, and respect other people’s differences.
We can also help our kids by living these values ourselves: If we communicate with love, try new things, and respect other people’s differences we show our children how.
With one eye on the bigger picture, and despite all the day-to-day dramas, we can raise our kids with love and purpose.
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