Pages

Teach Them Well


Commenting on our young granddaughter's love of reading and writing in my last post started me thinking about the gifts we can give our children thru encouragement and example.  Here are a few of the things I think all children should be taught...

To love reading... read to them from the time they are very small, give them books of their own to treasure, listen to them read to you, introduce them to the library, provide a quiet family reading time each week to help the realize that reading is a lifelong pleasure. Let them choose reading matter that interests them, as long as it's age appropriate.  It is ok to suggest, but if you exercise too much control you will thwart the adventure of discovering a whole new world between the covers of a book!

To  love writing... not just learning to print the ABC's and their name, nor scrawling out the mandatory thank you note to grandma, but to express their thoughts and feelings in written words.  Help them make a scrap book or a journal, encourage them to describe what they've seen or done, or to tell a story.   Gently work on improving spelling and grammar, don't go at it with a red pen and a frown face!!  Don't judge content harshly, praise their work and encourage their efforts.  Use the fridge door for display!

To love creating... this can take many forms, from coloring or painting when young, to woodwork, needlework, crafting greeting cards, sculpting clay, making pottery, assembling a colorful pot of assorted flowers or plants, or building a tree house! Provide supplies, demonstrate techniques, offer help as needed (but let them take the lead), praise results!  Creative outlets that can be taken into adult life will save a bundle in therapist fees in the future!

To love giving... demonstrate giving from the time they are very small and help them participate... choose a gift for daddy or mommy, bake cookies together for the older man next door, rake the yard for a neighbor, choose old toys and donate them. Give them opportunities to share, and talk about the importance of thinking of others. Teach them to share smiles and polite words too!

To have faith... children grow up in a scary world today with so  many negative influences and things that are difficult to understand, like divorce.  Don't drop them off at church at Sunday School, take them!  Make faith a part of  your daily family life and conversation.  Explain what you believe and why, and teach them tolerance for what others believe.  When times are tough, demonstrate how faith gives you the courage to keep going.

To believe in themselves... from day one make sure your children know that you love them and that they have value... not only if they are "good" and do everything right, but just as they are!  Tell them the things that make them unique and special and help them find their own special ways to shine! Give them opportunities to take on tasks which will result in small successes that can build confidence to accept the challenge of greater tasks. 

And even more... Teach them it is good to ask for help when you need it, to admit when you are wrong, and to say your sorry if you hurt someone. Teach them to be kind and well-mannered, to be adaptable to life's ever changing situations, and to pick themselves up when they fall.  Teach them financial responsibility and personal integrity.  Let them know we are all connected and we each have a role in the world.  Teach them to be caretakers of the earth and each other.

Imagine how different things could be if each parent would consciously ensure their child entered adulthood with these simple gifts in their "suitcase" for life!  Make the time to parent.  Turn off the tv, the iPad, and the computer now and then - laugh, love and play with your child.  Dusting can wait, the tv will always be there... but your children will be grown and gone before you blink twice.  Do it now... be a parent who makes a difference in the life of their child, so your child will grow up to  make a difference in the world!

What other things do you think it's important to teach a child? 

20 comments:

  1. Something you said, once again forces me to share an opinion.

    I hated reading in school because everything they made me read was so boring I couldn't force myself to stay awake.

    It is very important that kids are encouraged to read things they want to read about.

    I didn't become an avid reader until my 20s for this very reason. School broke my reading spirit.

    Also, when building belief in themselves, don't lie to them. It's ok to tell them you love the picture they drew. It is not ok to tell them how very talented they are and that they should probably be an artist if they drew a stick figure.

    Belief in ones self should never be predicated on a lie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may be channeling you in my comments lately, they are getting longer and longer....

      Delete
    2. I totally agree about chosing your own reading matter, Monkey. Kids who are forced to read stuff they aren't interested in will grow up to despise all reading. It really doesn't matter if you read comic books, if you learn to enjoy the process, you will eventually diversify in tastes! Books transport us, they teach us about the world and ourselves, and they offer a refuge when reality becomes too harsh. Books have been some of my best friends in life!

      Amen, also on being honest with your children. You can always use the adjective "interesting", and ask them to describe it! My mother used to tell us we were "so beautiful". We KNEW we weren't all that much, and it undermined my belief in her judgement and honesty on other things. Yes, we looked nice and dressed nice, but we weren't glamour girls by any means. Instead, praise a child for what is special and unique about them. I would have given anything to have ANYONE in my family like the things I wrote. Sadly, I still get negative feedback on that to this day!

      Delete
    3. There, I answered with a really long reply, just to stay one step ahead of you! LOL (Not really, you know that I just love to ramble on... I do hope it's not contagious, but I love it when you share your thoughts on what i write!

      Delete
  2. Hi-

    Great post- one thing that was taught to my brothers and I growing up and something I have really stressed with my own kids is kindness and compassion towards animals. I have such a soft spot for all creatures (our family pet of choice are cats) and I really wanted my boys to grow up knowing how much love an animal can give if treated kindly. And happily, they have learned. I have two cat lover's now!

    The other that is still a work in progress (they are 7 so still learning) is respect for their elders. I was raised in the South with a dad in the military so yes ma'am and yes sir was firmly ingrained in my psyche (and still is today). This may seem old fashioned to some but it means a lot to my wife and I.

    Ali

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hear hear! It delights me to see my own children discovering their tastes, skills and passions as they go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you encourage their individuality, Robin! It fascinates me to see the ways my children have grown up to be like me and even more so, the ways that they are very different. They both do things that amaze me!

      Delete
  4. You mentioned 'financial responsibility' which is unforgivably, totally forgotten when raising children.

    I would add that teaching them manners and respect is one of the best ways to insure that YOUR child will always welcomed anywhere they choose to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly seems to be a forgotten lesson, Lotta Joy. Most young adults, in fact many adults period, have no concept of handling money and finances. It should be a required subject for graduation!!

      I totally agree on manners and respect too, it will take them far in the world. Nothing is more annoying than an adult who lacks manners and is rude. I have little time for such people. Children learn these things not only by being told but by modeling their parents... we need to demonstrate respect for all others, whether they are to our liking or not!

      Delete
  5. Love this post!! I've taken a step back, so to speak, and have done some of what you talked about - putting down technology to live life fully with my two (nearly grown) children. I wholeheartedly agree on all your points. Excellent! I would also say that it is important to teach them about the reality and depth of marriage and what love (real love) is all about, living an imperfect, but real love in front of them. They get such skewed messages about relationships, the opposite sex and marriage these days, and I believe they need to see sacrificial love walked out in front of them. Not to say that they need to be privy to all arguments and matters in marriage, but that they see that you can disagree, and love the person anyway, and you can forgive, and be humble enough to admit when you're wrong and be forgiven.

    Have an awesome day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carrie! Nice to see you out and about! Yes, that's a good lesson to be taught, the realities of love and marriage, what to look for in a partner, and how to make it work long term. I totally agree about showing them that love is give and take and knows how to weather storms. Learning to say you're sorry, and to forgive - maybe two of the most important lessons in life for everyone!!

      Delete
  6. Hi,

    Another important belief for our family is kindness and compassion towards animals. I am extremely tender-hearted towards all animals and it was important to me for my boys to learn that pets can be your loving companions if treated with love and tenderness. My plan worked, I now have 2 guys who love cats. :)

    The other belief we are still working on (the guys are 7 so this is still a work in progress) is respect for their elders. I was raised in the south with a military officer for a dad so yes ma'am and yes sir was firmly engraved in my brothers and I from a very young age. Some might find this old fashioned but I think there is not enough respect shown these days and society could use all it can get.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ali, welcome to my blog! I love your additions to the list! We are a cat family as well (we have five of them, and feed two more feral cats outside). Too often I see children abusing or neglecting animals and parents who don't seem to notice or care. Children should be taught to love and respect all of God's creatures, and this starts when they are very small... good for you!

      There is nothing I like better than young people who say "Yes Sir" and "Yes Ma'am" when speaking to adults. We never called our friends parents by their first names nor thought of adults as larger peers. Adults were to be respected and obeyed. Respect seems to be a fading virtue in today's world, and I totally agree that we would benefit from a whole lot more of it! If young people were taught respect at home they would do much better in the classroom and certainly in jobs in future years. Attitude is everything!

      Delete
  7. This is a very important post. Unfortunately, not all parents do these things. We see this in society all of the time, and suffer the effects of this. But, sometimes the opposite happens.
    Sometimes the parents do everything "right", giving 200%, and the child goes astray. The parent is blamed, sometimes even by the child. There is a heartache like no other.
    Still, one must do their best, give their best, and hope and pray for the best. It is the right thing to do. I agree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If parents did any one of these things well in raising their child it would make a difference, Annie, if they did most or all of them, the results could be amazing! But just as you aptly note, sometimes it doesn't work that way. We all know families where some children raised in the same household turn out fine, and one will go far astray. Yes, the parents are often blamed, and despite their best efforts they may or may not be able to guide that child back to the right road, as in the case of drug addiction, gang membership, and criminal activity. Too often the lure from outside influences is strongest. My heart always goes out to parents who have tried their hardest, it's easy to place the blame, but it isn't always fair.

      Delete
    2. It is also true that one child in a family can have a very different experience growing up than the other children did. Sometimes one is singled out for abuse, or to be the scapegoat, or is put in the role of having to raise the other children. It can be damaging and result in an adult who has a lot to come to terms with. And sometimes those who appear to be "great parents" to the world aren't really that way behind closed doors. That can be a child's worst nightmare.

      Delete
  8. I attended my nephew's high school graduation this past weekend and what struck me most was how the next generation is aware of what the scary world they are entering. It made me sad to think our youth no longer are insulated by the idea that everything will be OK. In some ways I thinks it's good to be realistic and yet.... I kept thinking... "too young." My Sister and her husband have done everything right in how they raised their son, but.... the real world is right there too. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That truly is a sad reality, Boxer. When I was 18 we honestly believed we could change the world and make it a better place, despite the insanity of a war that had thrown the country into turmoil. I too, wish that innocence could last a bit longer. We become hardened to life soon enough as it is. Once a parent has done all they can, it is up to the individual character of their child to determine how they will let life affect them, and how they will imprint themselves upon life. I like to believe there are still dreamers in the world who believe that we can change things if we really try!

      Delete
  9. Yes, yes and YES. I agree with you on all points. One thing I'd like to elaborate on, which I have instilled in my son, is that it is alright to experience disappointment and what others might see as failure. The important quality to possess when that happens is resilience. Just because something doesn't work out doesn't mean that person is a failure. I am pleased to see my son is very resilient. He doesn't give up and become apathetic when something goes wrong. I'm hoping it is a quality he will hold onto for all of his life!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful addition to the list Selma... resilience! My daughter is finally learning that she has that capability within herself too. Life is going to throw many curves at us and we will stumble on the path many times, the solution is always to get up and try again. As my friend Louise says "always start again". We need to teach our children that failure it not fatal, it just means to regroup, rethink it, and restart. The only real failure in life is to give up. I will never surrender... I intend to survive and thrive, becuase I finally learned that I CAN! :-)

      Delete

Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)