How many times have you said your kids, “you learn something new every day”? Before you start counting on your fingers and searching your husband’s ‘man drawer’ I better confirm that was a rhetorical question; just ‘a lot’ will do as an answer. We say this because it is true, we do learn something new every day and that is because we never stop learning, which is because, well, we will never know everything and we will always keep learning. That is the real lesson you are trying to teach your little ones; to always learn and always learn from their mistakes. It is a good lesson to learn.
A better one, however, is to always learn from other people’s mistakes. That is where you come in because, as their parent, you can teach them a lot about life and where the pitfalls lie. We’re not going to sit here and say that we know everything – we have already discovered that we don’t – or that teaching your kids some of these life lessons is going to be an easy feat that can be done in next to no time. However, it will take your kids a lot longer to learn some of these invaluable and priceless life lessons without your help. Period.
With that in mind, here are some of the most valuable life lessons a person can learn and remember, at least according to people who have lived a life and bounced back.
Lesson 1: Having It Easy Is Boring
Life is not a wish-making factory. It is a place where challenges, heartache, hurdles and issues crop up on a tri-daily basis and there is very little we can do about it, except adjust our attitudes. Instead of thinking that the struggle should be avoided at all costs, think of it as character-building. Instead of saying, “ I can’t do it,” or, “I’m going to give up,” try and shout the words, “BRING IT ON!!” and see what happens from that. Life isn’t easy. It is a fight, but one that is worth fighting for.
Lesson 2: Complaining Is Pointless
We only get a very short amount of time to enjoy life, and that makes time the most valuable commodity there is – more than gold and diamonds, skill and talent. With that in mind, why would anyone want to spend any of their time complaining? To put it bluntly, complaining has never made anything better. If something is worth complaining about, then it is worth your effort to try and make it right. If you can’t be bothered to do this, then it isn’t worth complaining about. Remember that. The best way to spend your life is by smiling and laughing, it is as simple as that.
Lesson 3: Family Is Everything
Whether it is your biological family, your adopted family or your best friends in the whole wide world; these people are everything and the reason why you should try and spend as much time with them as possible. And add to this family as much as you can. The more people you can surround yourself with – people that you love and who love you – the better. You are going to go through life making a lot of half-hour friendships, people who just visit your existence, but family is different because family is forever.
Lesson 4: Money Doesn’t Matter
Okay, it does matter, but it isn’t everything, even though it can often feel like that. That is why it is so worth training yourself to not care about it so much and to not care about so much that it starts to replace the important things in life. If you don’t know what we are talking about, then watch the first half an hour of Hook; that should clarify everything you need to know about priorities. It isn’t just money itself that you need to be careful of either, it is the stuff you buy with money. If you become too dependent on the stuff you purchase and own, then the stuff you purchase and own will start to own you. This is not good.
Lesson 5: A Salary Doesn’t Make You Rich
One of the most valuable things you can ever teach your children is that salaries don’t make people rich. Seriously. It is not about how much you earn but how much you save, how hard your money works for you and how much you can hand down to the next generation. If you are buying a house, the mortgage deal you get is what will dictate your finances going forward. If you buy a new car then you will lose a lot more of its value than if you bought one that is a couple of years old. If you buy a luxury kitchen appliance that cost $290 when you could have bought the same pair from a different shop for $240, then you aren’t being money smart. Basically, what we are saying is, not all dollars are born equal; it is how you spend them that dictates their real value.
Lesson 6: Do Some Exercise
Do some exercise and do it every day. As much as you can squeeze in. This is where everything starts. It is the source of a healthy mind, the basis of a fully functioning body and the foundations of everything else in life. This is the vessel that carries you around and, let’s be honest if you can’t create a strong and healthy body, what can you build in life? If you don’t have the determination to and desire to be a healthy person that will probably live longer then what on earth can you be determined to do? Find an exercise or activity that makes you smile and laugh and then do it as much as you can.
Lesson 7: Write It Down
The world makes so much more sense when you are able to write down the mess of thoughts that swirl inside your head like a thick fog with no beginning or end. Luckily, most children take to the idea of keeping a journal. However, it shouldn’t be something that is exclusive to the younger years. That’s because a journal is just a great way to become a better writer and thinker, and both are important. They are. Yes, they are. You write texts, emails, and all sorts so we are all writers and each medium is important in its own way.
Lesson 8: Who Cares What They Think
We know that it is sort of human nature to worry about what others think and to try and fit in and be liked and accepted, but it is all a waste of energy in the end. What people think of you is none of your business and it is your life so it is none of theirs. Another way to look at it is like this: those who matter won’t care and those who care don’t matter. Always be true to yourself, after all, it is the only person you’ll ever be. What’s more, if you spend too much time worrying about others and trying to please them all the time then you will never please yourself or reach your dreams. So be you, always.
Lesson 9: Ignore The Job
No one in the world wants to work the same job for forty years, and that is why the job you pick should be somewhat ignored. What you should focus on instead is finding an industry that you love. This is because, in order to get good at something, you need to stick at it for years and years, which you can’t do by industry hopping. So pick that industry you are fascinated by – cooking, fashion, films, art, logistics, marketing, whatever – and start at the bottom. Trust us, every industry has a thousand roles, so you will find the one that is perfect for you, and you’ll do it in the sector that grabbed at your passion.
Lesson 10: Never Judge People
Everyone is unique. Who they are is unique, the background is unique, their history, their goals, their determination, desire, ambition, and faults. We all have our very own unique context and that is what makes us so god darn special. It is also what makes judging other people so ill-advised, ignorant and, dare we say, wrong. Just because someone makes a different choice to the one you would have made does not make them less intelligent. You are on the outside looking in, remember that. What you should do instead of judging is helping. Always help people. After all, you don’t know what their context is. This starts with sonder; the recognition that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.
Your kids might think they know a lot, and they might think they should make mistakes on their own because they know no better. However, being able to accept that we need keep learning, and being able to help your kids learn valuable life lessons is what will set them up for a successful future more than anything. This list is not the be all and end all, but it is a good place to start.