“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.” – Abigail Van Buren
In our modern world, parents have more challenges than ever before in raising children. Money troubles, the strain of work, too many responsibilities, no downtime, and other factors can be huge obstacles in caring for and raising a child. Plus, many parents are still trying to grow up themselves, thus having to raise children while still raising themselves.
Parenting has certainly changed with the times, but the values we should instill in our children remain the same. Imagine how different the world would be if all children learned humility, grace, kindness, compassion, generosity, patience, respect, and acceptance of all.
With that said, no matter how much time you spend with your children, taking time to instill these vitally important values in them will allow them to flourish into healthy, happy, respectable adults.
Here are 11 sentences that will change your child’s life:
1. “Always give what you can.”
Unfortunately in our world today, we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that looking out for #1 will bring us happiness. We’ve been taught to treat ourselves to the latest phones and other gadgets because corporations tell us we deserve them. However, if we all grow up learning the opposite – to give as much as you can to others without asking for anything in return – we would almost certainly have a kinder, healthier world.
Teach your children that giving is much more important and valuable than receiving, because seeing a smile on someone’s face after you help them out brings greater rewards than a new item ever will.
2. “Appreciate the little things in life.”
At the end of the day, it’s the little things that will truly fill your children with love and joy, not the big things. The butterfly flitting past them on a walk through the forest, the trips you go on together, the sight of the sun coming up above the horizon before the world begins to awaken – those are the things they’ll remember.
Teach your children what really matters from a young age, and they will remember this for the rest of their life. They won’t be conditioned to chase the wrong things for acceptance or happiness, and will always take time out of their day to simply appreciate being alive.
3. “Don’t ever settle.”
So many people settle in life, either thinking they don’t deserve better, or they simply get tired of searching. If your soul doesn’t truly feel happy, however, then you can always do better for yourself. Settling in life leads to long-term feelings of apathy, complacency, and depression, and no deserves to feel that way, especially your own flesh and blood.
Teach your children to go after what they want in life, and to never give up. Teach them to go after whatever makes them happy, even if it doesn’t make sense to other people. As long as they find fulfillment and love the life they live, they will not end up settling for less.
4. “Be grateful every single day.”
No matter what you’re facing in life, if you have a roof over your head, water to drink, clothes on your back, some food on the table, and loving people around you, you’re doing better than you think. We need to remind our children of this simple fact of life, because our modern culture teaches us that we are lacking if we don’t have all the latest “essentials.”
Teach your children to remain grateful for all the blessings bestowed upon them, and to not desire anything outside of what they truly need. After all, Buddha said it best: “Desire is the root of all suffering.”
5. “Kindness is the greatest gift you can give.”
Kindness doesn’t cost a penny, yet has great value when given in a selfless manner. If we taught our children to love all, serve all, and don’t expect anything in return, they would grow up to change the world by simply living in congruence with their values.
Teach your children to offer kindness to everyone they meet, even if it’s just returning a smile, helping someone put groceries in their car, or even holding the door open for them. Teach them to remain present in the real world happening around them, because people need help every day, and they can offer it if they keep their hearts open.
6. “Treat everyone with respect, even if you don’t agree with them.”
If we look back in history, so many disagreements, battles, and all out wars have happened due to a difference in opinion and lack of ability to find common ground. Imagine how much suffering we could prevent if we all treated each other with respect, regardless of if we agree on every little thing.
Teach your children to treat everyone they meet with dignity, compassion, and respect, even if they don’t have anything in common with them. Remember, you can give love to others without first taking the time to wonder if they’re worthy of it.
7. “Follow your heart, always.”
This world can pull you in so many different directions that you can’t even think straight, but the truest compass lies within yourself. If you aren’t following your heart, then you are fighting a battle with your own soul, and the only way to win is to give in. Give in to your deepest desires and what awakens the parts of yourself that have been asleep for years, because that’s the only real way to feel alive.
Teach your children that, regardless of what the world may try to tell them, only they know the real answers. Teach them to look within instead of searching outside themselves for the right path, because their heart will guide the way for them in the end.
8. “Don’t let other people steal your joy.”
There are many “mini-lessons” within this one sentence, as we can interpret it in a few different ways. First, teach your children that caring what other people think is a mental prison they will be stuck in the rest of their lives if they don’t learn to free themselves. How do they escape? Of course, by staying true to themselves regardless of how others may perceive them. Teach them that their own opinion of themselves matters much more than others who don’t know their story.
Secondly, teach them that they are only responsible for their own feelings and emotions, and not to let other people drag them into their own misery. They can’t control situations, but they can take charge of how they react to them.
9. “What you think, you become.”
Another insightful lesson from the Buddha himself, this knowledge still applies today. Whatever you think about comes about, so teach your children to be mindful of their thoughts and try to look at things in an optimistic way. Negativity drains their energy, while positivity adds to it. Teach them to look on the bright side of things, and life won’t seem nearly as challenging.
10. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”
This is perhaps one of the most important things you can say to your children before they start growing up and allowing fear to paralyze them. While we should be aware of our surroundings and act with reason, we can’t spend our whole lives in absolute fear of everything around us. We must step outside of our bubble and allow life to happen to us if we ever want to learn and grow. Sure, we might stumble, fall, and run into failures, but that’s inevitable in life.
Teach your children to see opportunities when one door closes, because that just means that wasn’t the right door for them, anyway. Teach them that mistakes are a healthy part of being human, and as long as you learn from them, that’s all that matters in the end.
11. “Treat your environment as your home.”
In these times, this lesson is more important than ever before. If you look around at all the destruction on our planet, it’s largely due to our wasteful practices and mismanagement of resources. You might not realize it, but what we teach our children now will directly impact the future of this planet, so in a sense, you have a responsibility in making sure they have a planet to inhabit. Ask your children, “Would you want to come home to a house full of trash, pollution, and downright mess?” They would probably say no. So, teach them to treat the Earth as their home; pick up trash, only take what they need, and treat the Earth with the kindness and respect she deserves.