There are many things I want my kids to learn in life. As a parent, I believe it’s my job to point my children in the right direction initially. To support and educate, to listen and help them learn the basic dos and don’ts until they can make reasoned decisions of their own. I’m sure every parent wants their children to grow into decent, honest and respectable grown-ups but few have the luxury of a blog to write down their hopes and dreams. I’m lucky to now have the opportunity. Here are the lessons I hope my boys pick up on their journey into adulthood;
1. Education is important. Listen and learn. The one thing that nobody can ever take away from you is your mind. Although it may seem boring or lessons may appear a waste of time at school, education is important. You may not appreciate this until many years later. Learn all that you can. Seize opportunities. Better yourself and throughout life never stop asking questions and seeking answers. Absorb what’s around you and learn to make reasoned decisions. It will make you a better person, open endless doors and set you off with a firm set of skills in life.
2. Appreciate what’s around you. See the beauty in all that you can no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
3. Learn to love. Love your family, other people, food, places, art, your body and yourself. Try before deciding you hate or dislike something. Sometimes love can crush you. Many don’t know love until they have experienced its loss. Not all love or what you think is love is forever. Your first girlfriend or partner may consume your world initially, but may not turn out to be the right fit for you. You grieve but will survive and you will move on. If this should happen, don’t let the lost love jade you. Keep an open heart and mind.
4. Mistakes are natural. We all make mistakes. It’s OK to make them as long as we learn from them and apologise or try and put things right where necessary.
5. Be true to yourself. Form your own judgments and opinions. Respect your body and your mind. Don’t get pulled into a ‘fake’ world or let people try and turn you into something you’re not. Don’t try chemical enhancements or drugs that alter your thoughts – these are dangerous and unnecessary. Get your kicks in other ways – sport, art or music. Be happy with yourself and your decisions.
6. Don’t be a bully and don’t be bullied. Be a good person. Know the difference between right and wrong. Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t like done to yourself and don’t get pushed around. Stand up for yourself. Tell us (your parents) or someone in power if someone is wicked or unkind to you. Don’t be scared and never let anyone make you feel vulnerable or uncomfortable.
7. Not everyone is your friend. Not everyone has the same values as you. You will come across many that judge you without reason or are jealous or twisted in their thoughts. Not everyone is the same. Don’t let others take advantage of you or your good nature and steer clear of those that get you down or try and lead you on a path you don’t want to walk. Trust your instincts.
8. It’s natural to cry. Girl, boy, adult or child, there are many things in life that upset us. Don’t be afraid to show your emotions – a good cry can clear your head and make the world a far easier place to deal with.
9. Be independent. Don’t rely on anyone. Learn and work hard. It doesn’t matter what you become; a footballer, doctor, lawyer or waiter, just apply yourself and be the best at whatever you choose to be. You make your own opportunities in life. You make your own decisions and success. Independence means you answer to no one but yourself and can enjoy all the rewards that come in return, financially or otherwise.
10. Anger is natural. We all get angry, it’s how you deal with anger that matters. Never raise your fist unless absolutely necessary. Always use your words and calm reasoning to put matters right – failing that, walk away. Anger can consume you. Don’t let it. Give yourself time-out if you need to and face the issues again with a clear head later.
11. Respect everyone. Respect women, your elders, your family, strangers, and friends. If you treat others with respect, they normally return it.
12. Empathise. People live many different lives some of which may be alien to your own. Always try and understand others thoughts, opinions or situation no matter how different their life or views are from your own. Put yourself in their shoes. Don’t judge or comment without fully understanding what others are going through.
13. Listen and support others. Listen to what’s around you and be there for others that need you. Sometimes all someone wants is a friend or someone to listen without judging or giving unnecessary advice.
14. Family is important. Love your parents and your brother. There will be times when family get you down or really annoy you. We will shout, scream or rant at one another but remember we are forever linked and will always care and love one another.
15. Remember we love you. Most importantly, always remember, no matter what, we love you unconditionally. However bad things may seem, however naughty you think you have been or whatever you’re too scared to share with us, remember we will always love you. You can always talk to us about anything, we have lived and were young once too, whatever issues arise we are here to help work things out.
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