As a new mother, I think a lot about how I want to raise my daughter and what lessons I want to teach her.
Even though children spend a lot of time at school, heavily influenced by their peers and teachers, parents play a crucial role in their child's development.
It's up to us to raise the next generation, and instilling these following powerful lessons will not only make for a better future, but also help our children become the successful and happy individuals we all hope they become.
1. "Choose your words carefully"
Whether we're quick to make a judgement or express ourselves in the heat of the moment, parents are finding unique ways to teach their children about thinking before they speak.
Last week, a Facebook post went viral of a parent explaining why she squirt a roll of toothpaste onto a plate, then asking her pre-teen daughter to put the toothpaste back into the tube.
Of course, that's impossible, but that's where the lesson came in.
"Just like this toothpaste, once the words leave your mouth, you can't take them back. Use your words carefully ... When others are misusing their words, guard your words. Make the choice every morning that life-giving words will come out of your mouth ... Be known for your gentleness and compassion. Use your life to give life to a world that so desperately needs it. You will never, ever regret choosing kindness."
2. "Choose significance over success"
The path we choose to take early on in life has a huge impact on our happiness and well-being.
Teaching our children to be helpful, compassionate, and generous will always add meaning to their life.
These are core values that have allowed humankind to progress.
People who only know the value of money and constantly seek monetary gain often feel lost in life, as if they're missing something of true value.
It's important that as parents we become an example for our kids and show them that being a person of significance has far greater value than simply being successful in terms of monetary wealth.
3. "Beauty from within never fades"
Every society in the world has a set of beauty standards that children feel pressured into conforming.
Studies show that children as young as five years old start caring about their appearance, and are worried about how others perceive them.
If children are not reminded time and time again that it's what's on the inside that matters, they can get lost in the world of superficiality.
One father, whose daughter suffers from a rare condition called alopecia, which causes people to lose their hair from a young age, went viral after teaching her daughter an important lesson on beauty.
Instead of telling her over and over again that's she's beautiful, he showed her that appearances don't matter by shaving off his own hair.
"'You shouldn't say things like that kiddo," the father, Dave Sylvaria, told his daughter, Riley, when she called herself ugly. "You are a very special girl. Do you know how special you are? You're the most special girl in the whole world. Hair doesn't matter.'"
4. "Be accommodating"
You hear children say "it's not fair" all the time, but that's usually when you deny to buy them their favorite candy or toy.
A lesson in fairness is not easy to teach your child, but one former special needs teacher thought of a brilliant way to teach her students about being accommodating.
During one class, she asks two students, one short and one tall, to stand below dollar bills hanging above their heads. She tells them that whoever catches the money first wins the contest.
Counting down from three, the two kids reach for the dollar bill, and, of course, the taller student wins.
When other students whisper that the activity was not fair, she calls up the same two students, but this time she allows the shorter student to stand on a chair. Needless to say, both students grab the dollar bill at the same time.
"We leveled the playing field. You see, a chair is an accommodation not unlike extended time, fewer choices, headphones, or leaving the classroom. Both of these students, regardless of their height, deserved to reach the same goal in the end. They both equally deserved that dollar bill and it wasn’t the fault of the shorter student that he or she hasn’t grown as tall as the other. The rules just weren’t fair."
5. "Take on a challenge"
Young children are quite resilient, which is why they're great at taking on new challenges. Unfortunately, that skill tends to wane when they grow older.
Fear is a part of everyone's lives, but it's important that we teach our children not to succumb to it.
Some parents continue to take on new challenges and experiences to encourage their children to get out of their comfort zone.
Teaching your child to take calculated risks may be life changing, and could set them on a path of growth and happiness.
6. "Search for the silver lining"
As children become more aware of the world they live in, their personalities are also taking form.
This important time of development is crucial for children to develop an optimistic outlook in life.
When I was growing up, I was taught to see problems rather than solutions, which impacted the way I viewed myself and the world around me for years.
As a parent, it's important to teach your children that obstacles are a part of life, but they should never stop you from living to the fullest.
7. "Find ways to tell the truth"
Author Mark Twain once said, “Good judgement is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgement.”
Many parents say one of their biggest challenges is encouraging their children to be more honest.
It's natural to make mistakes and feel embarrassed about them, but we all know how lying can cause a lot of trouble.
According to Today's Parent, punishing a kid for lying is one of the worst things you can do.
“If you avoid punishment, you open up the lines of communication so they can come to you for help,” Judy Arnall, a Calgary parent educator and author of Discipline Without Distress, told the magazine.
Also, being an example for your child is crucial. If you lie about your kids' age to get into a movie theater for cheaper or laugh about deceiving someone, children will pick up on this behavior and think that it's okay.
8. "Don't be afraid to open your heart and love"
One thing many older folks regret is not spending enough time with their loved ones, or not mending relationships.
In order to be a good person, children must be open to love and compassion.
It can be frustrating when people take advantage of one's kindness, but it shouldn't make someone bitter against the whole world.
The only person that can teach them the value of friendships and relationships is a parent.
Helping your children foster connections with their siblings and friends will go a long way.
9. "Share your gift to the world"
One of the most important roles a parent has is to guide their child in the right direction.
We must help them find their passions and develop them so that when they get older they can go on living a happy and fulfilling life.
Encouraging them to do what they love will pave a path toward success.
And never forget, these important values you pass on to your children will be exactly what they will strive to teach their own kids.
10. "Your life is in your hands"
We can only do so much for our children.
Their decision and actions are out of our hands, which is why we must remind them to not only respect the people around them, but also to respect themselves.
Instilling and reinforcing perseverance and confidence will go a long way.