The answer is normally, ‘We’re trying to raise decent human beings.’
It’s not a small task, but it’s a worthy and very important objective not only for our children, but for our community and society.
But what do kids need to learn to be decent human beings? What’s the best way to teach them? And what is a decent person?
Definitions will probably vary, but here are a few of my thoughts about what contributes to the decent life:
I want my kids to be able to relate well to others
Relationships are the stuff of life. My kids don’t need to be liked by everyone, but they do need to make friends, be a good friend, care for others, share, and show their love.
I want my kids to be good communicators
Communication is the foundation for any good relationship. I’d like my kids to be self-aware, know how they are thinking and feeling, and express what they are thinking and feeling in a constructive way. I also want them to listen well to others, and see life from other peoples’ perspective.
I want my kids to learn and keep on learning
I think life is all about learning. I want my kids to be inquisitive and curious, and have a love for learning. I’d like them to continually strive to improve themselves, test themselves, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes.
I want my kids to value themselves, and others
I want my kids to have self-worth. I want them to value their own unique qualities and strengths, and to believe that they have something valuable to contribute to this world. I’d also like them to acknowledge important people in their life who help them to be at their best.
I want my kids to enjoy
Most kids are so good at having fun. I’d like my kids to not lose too much of their sense of fun as they grow and take on more responsibilities. I want them to be responsible and respectful, but hopefully not too serious and stressed.
So how can I teach my kids these things?
I think we need to begin with the motto: ‘Do as I do.’
How can we expect our children to learn how to relate well to others, communicate well, learn and keep on learning, value themselves and others, and enjoy life if we don’t do these things ourselves?
So I’ve been asking myself lately, how much of a decent human being am I? How well do I behave? What am I showing my kids?
Raising kids is about trying to teach our kids how to be a decent person. But it is also about learning how we can do the same.
For more on how to build a decent life in your family check out, The Parent Manifesto: How to create a parenting approach that’s perfect for your family
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