Parenting Tips: Teach Your Children. Teach Them.
|Awww . . .|
I hate to admit it, but the last couple weeks or so, I’ve been hit with the baby bug . . .
|I know, Tom. I know.|
Hwaat!? Don’t trip. I don’t understand it myself. I mean . . . I don’t even LIKE kids let alone want one . . . at least not any time soon. They’re loud, expensive, attention hungry, expensive, annoying, expensive, dirty-little-germ-infested things that I want absolutely no parts of — yet it seems every time I see an adorable kid these days, especially little girls, I catch myself making the “aww” face:
Yeah. This goes without saying, but I need to chill.
Nonetheless, the thought of having a child partnered with the fact that there are 9+ little people in my family, has raised a deluge of questions:
How many would I conceivably like to have? One . . ? Four . . .?
How do I want to raise my kids? Do I want to be strict? Be loose? Perhaps, some combination of the two? What would I like to teach them — what VALUES would I like to instill?
This last question is the most important question any parent — or future parent — could ask themselves. The answer, alone, will pretty much determine your kid’s fate. For this reason, I’ve decided to list what I feel the most important values — principles are that everyone should instill in their child to ensure that they’re both well-rounded and successful.
Keep in mind, I’m not a parent. I don’t have any younger siblings. And I don’t babysit. My only incite into the realm of parenthood is observation and common sense. Unfortunately, it floors me on a daily basis how undoubtedly rare common sense seems to be these days. Especially when it comes to parenting. I know far too many parents, majority damn near, who lack the capacity to simply use their noggins. I pray for their children.
But I digress.
Here are eight values (in no particular order) that should be instilled into every child — regardless of their respective race or socioeconomic background.
1.) To Dream
This. Is. Important. *sings* “I buhlee duh chidren aw are fushiaaa.”
|Sexual Chocolate! *drops mic*|
What’s the point of molding your kid to be average? To aim low? To think anything is impossible? You’re doing them a grave disservice if you decide to extinguish that fire — that inherent fire that’s present in all of us at some point — the one that enables us to believe in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, or that man would venture into space one day; we need this sense of wonder to exist in our children and carry over into their adulthood. It’s the source of innovation, creativity, and original thinking.
2.) Discipline/ Work Ethic
|Yall Remember this? lol|
This is something my mom neglected to teach me early on, so it’s a concept I’ve struggle with for the bulk of my adult life. I was allowed to quit activities ALL the time. I was allowed to quit jobs — shit if I didn’t want to do something, I didn’t have to do it. If I wasn’t a braniac, I probably wouldn’t have accomplished anything in life. But you’re child ain’t me — so instilling discipline and work ethic in your child is paramount to their success. Neglecting to do so can and will pretty much guarantee you raise a bum. If not a bum, and underachiever, which, quite frankly, isn’t any better.
3.) To Win/ To Lose
Some parents drive winning down their kid’s throats, accepting nothing less than greatness. I’m not mad at the idea. It does wonders for self esteem and all that jazz. But what many parents neglect to teach their children is how to lose — how to fail — which is just as important as teaching them how to win — or to succeed. If your child isn’t mentally prepared to deal with losing/ failure, they’ll react poorly every time they have to face it. i.e. being a sore loser, lashing out, anger, sadness, etc. But if, instead, you teach them how to OWN their losses/ failures it will empower them. There’s a lesson in every failure. Children need to be taught to learn from their mistakes — to GROW from them. Failure isn’t the end of the world. It’s imperative that they learn to get up, dust themselves off, and keep it pushing. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
4.) How the World Works/ Cultural Identity
Many of us don’t realize how the world works until we’re well into our adulthood. Why? Why do parents “shield” their children? Sure, I understand it’s important that they be a child. I understand they have their entire lives to stress about BS– but raising them to be oblivious is kind of the dumbest shit to me. Even a vague understanding of how to maneuver in the world, is better than nothing.
If your child’s first job is at 22 years old. It’s a problem.
If your child knows nothing about politics at 18. It’s a problem.
If your child doesn’t know the concept of credit by 18. It’s a problem.
If your child doesn’t know how to save by 16. It’s a problem.
If your child doesn’t have a list of things they “like” to do by 18. It’s a problem.
If your child doesn’t know their history — or the importance of learning — or that life is a competition by the time they’re “grown” — it’s a legit problem.
They need to know how the world works. You can’t hold their hand through life. Drop RNS on them at all times. Teach them everything you wish you had known.
This idea is especially true when comes to culture. Black, White, Chinese, Native, Blue — teach them how the world works as it relates to them. Teach them to be proud about their cultural identity — not saying teach them to fill superior — just proud. To embrace their kinks, their curves, their big noses, their slanted eyes, their rich traditions . . . it’s important.
5.) To be Independent/ Interdependent/ Lead vs Follow
The importance of teaching your kid to be an individual. To not follow the crowd. To work independently. To figure things out for themselves — should be common knowledge, but it’s not. To be real, some parents don’t teach their children much of anything, which is a problem all it’s own. But hey, if you’re a parent who can’t do any of these things yourself, how are you supposed to teach them to your child, right? Wrong. It’s your DUTY to figure it out. It’s not okay to just be a bad parent and continue being a bad parent. You have to INVEST in your children. EMPOWER your children — which, ultimately, is what teaching them to be an individual will do.
That being said, teaching them to be individuals — to be leaders, isn’t the most important thing you can teach them. If you look at how our world is set up — the “individual” is secondary. It’s all about teamwork — interdependence. If they don’t know how to work in a team, they won’t make it anywhere. They need to realize their insignificance, so to speak. They won’t always have the best idea, they won’t always be the fastest, they won’t always be the smartest — it’s a matter of understanding they’re strengths and weaknesses, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of others, and collaborating. In the grand scheme of things, we only have one perspective to draw from. The sooner your child realizes this fact, the better off they’ll be. Apple wasn’t just Steve Jobs — The Bulls weren’t just Micheal Jordan — Inception wasn’t just Christopher Nolan — everything takes a team.
6.) Cultivate their Mind/ Tap into Creativity/ Think Critically
Your child should love to learn. They should LOVE it. If they don’t love it, it’s because they were taught NOT to love it. They’re KIDS. They’ll like whatever you tell them to like. I mean, you can make them think fruit is candy for cod’s sake. There’s absolutely no reason your child shouldn’t adore being glued to a book — it’s one big ass movie. No reason your child shouldn’t be addicted to playing with toys — it’s one big ass movie.
I was with my little cousins this past week for Turkey Day at my cousin’s house. There was a playroom that I called MYSELF getting excited over. I literally would’ve lost my mind in there as an ADULT — yet these little dudes were bored within five minutes. I didn’t understand. I blame TV and Video Games. But. I. Di. Gress.
I can’t stress how important it is to develop your child’s entire mind: to introduce them to an instrument early, to introduce them to a language early, to make them read every day, to put a pencil or some paint in their hands — my mom made me do workbooks (math, reading, writing, etc) everyday, and I couldn’t do jack until they were done — but I LOVED doing them jaunts so it wasn’t even a big deal. Kid’s love using their brains. Don’t keep that from them. It’s the worst thing you could do. Encourage them.
But don’t stop there. Teach them to think critically — to reason. Like the quote says above, they should question everything — dissect and analyze everything. Why? and How? Should be their two favorite questions. And you should have no problem answering, or helping them find the answer if you can’t. Again. Encourage them.
No one likes a brat. Kid brats grow up to be grown up brats. Me. Me. Me. Me. I’m the best. I’m the greatest. Mine. Mine. Mine. These kids are FUCKING annoying. Do your child’s friends and teachers a favor, and teach them some humility. Teach them that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Teach them to share. Teach them to be the kid that includes the kid nobody likes — to be nice to the stinky kid — it will prove invaluable. You’re child’s disposition can be molded.
Last but not least, teach your child to be honest. To be trustworthy — dependable — responsible. I’m sure we can all name 2-3 kids that are already heading down the wrong path. Once a liar, always a liar. Remember that. Nip it in the butt as soon as you can.
You (parents), and only you, have full license to decide how your kid will be raised. What kind of person they’ll grow up to be. What kind of things they’ll experience. Don’t waste this opportunity.
Your kid could change the world.
Until next time,