Every day, we get the opportunity to shape our kids, to literally change their lives. Everything that we say to them sticks with them, our words become their inner voices, our expectations become their goals.
If I had to pick just 10 life lessons I want our children to learn… I would use these 10 (all learned from my own parents).
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1). Love your spouse.
We all know what they say- lead by example. There is a reason for this- kids do as we do, not as we say. My husband and I were blessed to be able to see loving marriages and I want our kids to see the same thing.
2). Its what you teach them to do for themselves.
It can be hard to be the parent now. It can be hard to make your child do their homework before watching TV or make their bed before they can play. It can be hard to STOP doing that for my kids. We need to. Hold your child to high standards. I never wanted to let my parents down and now I hope that my children think enough of me to not want to let me down, either. In the end, they will look back and be grateful. Do not look for your child’s approval- they should be looking for yours.
3). Help Others
Learn to help others- be the example that you want your kids to see. Volunteer. Give selflessly. Give money to those less fortunate. Donate food and let you kids watch you or help you. Help your kids- show them the empathy that you want them to show others.
4). A penny saved is a penny earned.
I always think back to the advice that I give in my book, You can be a Stay at Home Mom on One Income…. you need to save your money now. I learned this lesson from my parents- save now, while you can. Pay off your mortgage. Pay off your cars. Pay off your debt. Then save. Save some more. Once you have all of that done- you can start to spend.
5). Spend time in prayer
It is an important value to teach our children. No, going to church doesn’t make you a better Christian, but it does teach us things about God, it reminds us of the truth, it instills values in us and it helps us to have a renewed connection with Christ and our family.
6). Keep your family as your priority
Eat together. Read together. Play together. Pray together.
We knew that our family came first when we were little. If we had something to do, our family was always involved. We went on family vacations, spent birthdays and holidays with our families, and we kept our family first.
7). Welcome them with open arms
My Mom was always waiting for us when we came home- from anywhere. I do the same with our kids. I wait for them at the door or on the porch. I greet them, happily, excitedly, when they get home. I do this even when they wake up in the morning.
When I hear our sons walking down the stairs or hear my daughter calling for me from her room in the morning, I put on a smile, open my arms and welcome them in. A good morning hug and kiss are just what they need to start the day off right. It is important to give your child your full attention when they see you after being away- let them know that you’ve missed them! Whether it be when you pick them up from preschool or daycare or if you are seeing them when they come home from school- give them your full attention.
8). Just be still & listen to them
I watched an episode on Oprah once, where Maya Angelou told Oprah that one time her son brought her a picture that he had made and when he showed it to her, she didn’t give him her full attention and just said something like “it’s nice”. He then took the picture, ripped it up and threw it away. When she asked him why he said that it was because she didn’t like it. She vowed then & there to pay attention to everything that he showed her. Her truly valued her opinion, as I know that our children are valuing ours. I always felt like I had my Mom’s full attention, and I still do. I know that if I am talking to her, she is listening. What a wonderful feeling to know that someone cares about you enough to really LISTEN.
9). Cheer your child on…
My husband told me once that his favorite thing to see at his football games in high school and college, was me sitting in the stands. He said that he loved looking up and seeing me there, cheering for him.
We always want to do the same thing for our own children. I always want them to see me at their games… watching them, not distracted by anything else.
10). Enjoy THIS moment.
My Grandma always said, “Are we having fun?” She lived a relatively simple life: a little house, on the ocean, with family being the center of her life. She was the happiest woman that I had ever met. Her life is one that I strive to live… being happy with what you have. Make the most of your life. Surround yourself with those that love you. Live every minute to its fullest. As my Mom says, one day, when we are old, we will have plenty of time to rest and when that time comes, we will wish that we weren’t resting, so let’s make the most of the moments that we have.
These lessons are close to my heart because I am blessed to have amazing parents that have taught me these lessons and I hope to teach our four children the same lessons…