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Life Lessons

The Five Most Important Things To Teach Your Kids
Posted by IJ Schecter on
May 9, 2011


A few decades ago, it was a lot easier to be a kid. Be polite to grown-ups, eat your vegetables, stay out of trouble—that pretty much got you through. Now, fast forward to 2011, where things are just a little different. First-graders tossing profanities around? Check. Pre-teens knowing the street names of most drugs? Frighteningly common. Sex at 12? Don’t pretend it isn’t happening. Yes, kids’ lives have become more complicated, and it looks like the lessons we need to teach them have too.
1 Be accepting. While it’s nice to think we’ve evolved as a species, there are frequent enough acts of ignorance and prejudice to disabuse us of that notion. Sure, tolerance and harmony seem like commonsense ideas that any normal person should espouse, but don’t assume that your kids see things so clearly. They’re still young, and impressionable, and the wrong messages can sometimes be persuasive. It’s your job to help them see the world through a clear lens.

Imparting the crucial messages today is a sensitive song-and-dance that requires delicate execution – and we’re here to help. You can’t keep your kid in a bubble, but you can do your best to make sure he or she turns into a productive, well-adjusted, non-delinquent member of society. Here’s the good news: Any kid – anyone – only needs to know five rules to live right. If you can somehow get your progeny to internalize a handful of tenets (by the way, don’t call them “tenets"), you’re off on the right foot. Here are the five most critical life lessons you ought to convey to your offspring while they’re still willing to listen to you.

1. Be accepting. While it’s nice to think we’ve evolved as a species, there are frequent enough acts of ignorance and prejudice to disabuse us of that notion. Sure, tolerance and harmony seem like commonsense ideas that any normal person should espouse, but don’t assume that your kids see things so clearly. They’re still young, and impressionable, and the wrong messages can sometimes be persuasive. It’s your job to help them see the world through a clear lens.

GOOD: Everyone has a heart and a soul. And that’s the only thing that matters.

BAD: Be nice to everyone, you never know when you’re going to need something from someone.

2. Show respect. Call it being a mensch. Call it being a stand-up kind of person. Call it general kindness and sensitivity. However you describe it, it’s the simplest act we should all offer each other every day: basic consideration. Kids usually get that part easily enough; the part they sometimes have a harder time with is the part about having respect for yourself. Tell them often why you think they’re great and they’ll learn to be the kind of people who want to make others feel good about themselves too.

GOOD: Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Be the best that you can be.

BAD: Don’t take crap from anybody. Let them know they can’t mess with you – that’s how you get results.

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CATEGORY: LOCKER ROOM FEEDBACK
AUTHOR: IJ Schecter RATE
TAGS: Chill, Fatherhood, IJ Schecter, Life Lessons, Raising Kids, Parenting, Advice
      


5 Things to Never Say to Your Children:

1. "Why did you do that? What's wrong with you?"
2. "If you behave, I'll buy you a toy."
3. "Why can't you be more like your sister?"
4. “That’ll leave a nice scar.”
5. "Because I said so, that's why."







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