Life is complex, profound, and full of surprises and challenges. When these come rapidly, life is frequently hard, often confusing, and sometimes outright deceptive. And, as they say, life isn’t fair; or, at least, not one to distribute its gifts equally. Some people find and achieve their dreams with relative ease; others struggle long and hard; some never make it at all. However, contrary to popular belief, not making it is rarely due to “bad breaks,” even if one is born homeless and despised. Usually, lack of success is due to responding poorly to life’s requirements.
Life is full of important lessons, and the earlier they’re learned, the better. The sooner a person gets acquainted with what real life is about—the challenges and the opportunities, the unique slot everyone fills, the dangers of entitlement and self-pity—the sooner he or she learns to handle the challenges, take the initiative to find his or her slot, and head off wrong habits before they develop; and the more time there is to accomplish the maximum good. Here are some life lessons to teach your children while they’re young.
- Parents and authorities are to be trusted. Of course, there are exceptions, and of course everyone is fallible; but that’s nothing compared to the chaos of everyone making all their own decisions whenever they feel like it. When in doubt, and especially when inexperienced, trust the more experienced party to decide what’s good (and not good) for you.
- Choose your friends well and keep them through good times and bad. Life is at its hardest when you have no hand to hold, no shoulder to cry on—and no cheering squad to rejoice in your success. Too many people hold their friends at a distance or dump them over trivial things—or will do anything to please an unreasonable “friend.” The friend who lends a hand when needed, is always there for you, corrects you gently when you err, stands by you when you’re unpopular, and cries and laughs with you is the friend worth keeping (and being) for life.
- Life is full of surprises, and things always turn out for the best; go with the flow. Fighting unwanted surprises will only blind you to their opportunities. Always be open to receive the positive in whatever comes; always practice gratitude.
- Balance makes life much easier. A life full of extremes, or focused entirely on one element, is a life headed for disaster. Make room for taking care of your health, spirituality, relationships, leisure, and vocation, and life will flow with less trouble.
- Accept that nothing is permanent. Everything and everyone change, often bringing loss. Learning to accept this is essential, or you’ll be perpetually behind life’s immediate needs.
- It’s okay to make mistakes; just make new ones every time. Constantly repeating the same mistakes is insanity; avoiding mistakes at all costs is stagnation; regularly learning through mistakes is greatness. Mistakes should be neither bogeymen nor enablers, but essential stepping stones toward success.
There are countless other lessons one will learn throughout life; but these will get your children started early on becoming what they were made to be.
Blessings to parents and children of all ages!