Wednesday 11 March 2015

The Big 5 Meme – Life lessons you want your kids to learn

I’m not sure what started me off the other day but I couldn’t stop thinking about what legacies I wanted to leave my kids. As a parent, before I pass, what are the crucial things that I need to help my children understand? 

There is so much we want our children to achieve and enjoy but we could easily run ourselves ragged or put too much pressure on the kids if we do not have a focus on what the outcomes we desire are.

Like anything in life if we set clear goals we are more likely to achieve them but we need to do that deep thinking first to ensure the goals set are the right ones. When you ask parents their hopes for their children in the future you often get an answer like ‘that they are healthy and happy’ or ‘that they do not have to struggle financially like I have’ and of course they are both valid and we all want our kids to stay well - in body, mind and spirit.

However, realistically, I have very little input as to whether my children will ever develop an illness or what their happiness state might be. I also can’t make them rich unless I have lots of money to pass on (which I don’t) but what I can do is help to shape their character. There are some really important character traits that need to be nurtured and developed to ensure our children become well-rounded adults. They need to learn the art of resilience, to be kind, to have self-control, to be non-judgemental and to be generous, as well as a whole raft of other skills.
I’ve come up with a list of five life lessons I’ve learnt and want to pass on to my kids. These are the things that I think will help to develop a positive character and to mould them into the kind of responsible citizens our world needs.

1.  Money does not equal happiness
Yes money can make life easier and you certainly need some of it to be able to live but please do not get stuck in the rat race believing that once you have a sports car or large detached house that everything will be good.  You’ll probably find that you just want more and more, it can be a vicious circle. The key to happiness is threefold – first, to be content with what you have, second, give thanks for all those things and lastly be generous. Don’t stockpile money, make sure those who need it get it.

2.  Keep your eyes heavenward and away from self
When we focus on ourselves we become too inward looking and lose sight of what our lives are really about. As a Christian I pray you will always stay connected to our heavenly father and I urge you to remain focused on Him and His will for your life. He knows best and will lead you in the right ways. I always find that when I focus on others first I am blessed most. Remember there is nothing you can do to make him love you move and nothing you can do that will mean He loves you any less, His love is unconditional.

3.  We all live in separate realities
Don’t make assumptions (or judgements) about other people. Each one of us experiences life very differently and what I see as important someone else does not. This is especially important to understand this with those you are closet too and especially your spouse. Communication is a wonderful tool and it will feel tricky at times but it is worth taking the time to spell out what you mean and to gain understanding of what others hold dear. Never diminish what is important to someone else.

4.  It is always better to be kind than right
It is so tempting to go through life proving to everyone that you know best and whilst it might make you feel good for a few seconds, is that really how you want to gain your happiness? I can promise you that when you choose to be kind and gracious you will be happier and more fulfilled in life. You don’t have to point out every little error that someone makes, they will appreciate your kind and loving response so much more. Take the first step after an argument, be the one to apologise and remain humble.

5.  Beauty is on the inside
Every person is unique. Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because someone is aesthetically pleasing on the outside that they are beautiful. God is concerned with our heart and what is on the inside. Some of the most beautiful people I know have outward blemishes or imperfections so the world may not class them as beautiful but I want you to choose to see what God sees. Look inside of both yourself and others and know that beauty lives within and you must nurture it.

Big 5 – The Meme (#Big5Meme)

As I typed this up I realised I would be very interested in the perspectives of other parents, of course this list is going to be very personal and different for each family. Also by making sure it only has five items on it you have to think very hard about what you really want for your children and that I think, is a great activity to do. I’m therefore sharing this as a meme and I want to tag a few bloggers to share with me their big 5.

I don’t see so many memes in the parenting blogsphere nowadays but they used to be popular and they can be a really interesting way to discuss one subject across loads of blogs with varied opinion. The rules of this meme are simple, blog about your big 5 life lessons and link back to this post so people can follow the train of the meme. Tag 3-5 other bloggers to complete the meme and let them know about the tag. Of course it is always good form to go and comment on those other blogs but that is down to you.

Any blog I find using the hashtag #Big5meme I’ll RT and social share.

Mich x

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