Everyone is going to think I have a "thing" with the number 5 and I've only been blogging for less than a year! I swear I don't, it just has worked out that way.
I've had the discussion with other parents before about the important things personally to me that I've taught my daughter. Meaning, what have I wanted to instill in her and then see her come to blossom with in her life?
It also was brought up when I was at conferences and one of her Teachers asked me, "What did you do with her to make her such a great girl?"
Here's what I've come up with:
1. No complaining.
At a very young age, I would be really specific about not letting her complain (it must be a natural tendency because it seemed like she did it on her own LOL), for instance if it was a rainy day, I would say to her right away, "Just because it's raining doesn't mean it's not a good day. A rainy day is JUST has good as a sunny day."
It might seem like an odd thing to teach her, but it seemed like a great way to introduce her to not complaining; I figured if I started with something so basic like the weather, it would prepare her for more serious things in life that she would most definitely be complaining about. The weather was something basic I could start her with. And it worked, this girl rarely complains to this day! Trust me, we all need to vent and let me tell you, she has her moments!
2. No negative words.
I'm talking not even 'Idiot'. Not even 'Shut Up'! And 'Stupid'.
I mean to me, those words are just as negative as a swear word. They don't sound positive at all, and my goal is to bring her up as positive as possible, in a world that is so negative. I want her bringing good in the world. Being GOOD to people. And I think if everyone would admit it, they'd agree that those words do not sound positive and the people that are hearing those words being said to them? I can guarantee don't feel good about it. What is the point of these words?
3. Being a friend to all.
There is so much "outcast" stuff going on in schools and such that I thought this one was crucial to teach her. It also goes along with kindness. I want her to befriend and be kind to the disabled, different ethnicity's, and certain category groups (which is a pet peeve of mine by the way), such as 'nerds' 'jocks' 'emu' all of em'. I brought her up to tear down that wall of division, and told her no matter who she is good friends with or who she hangs around, that she needed to make an effort to be a friend to all her classmates.
Being polite, in my opinion is one of the easiest things to teach a child. It has to come at an early age, as most of these 5 things do, but it is something that can be taught with consistence and persistence. Things as simple as "Please and Thank you", "You're Welcome", and asking. Asking is important because it shows healthy boundaries between the child and the parent. It shows that the child can't just do whatever, whenever.
It's so cool because manners sort of ends up turning into respect later in their life. I see now with my daughter being a Sophomore, that she is very respectful to her teachers and other adults.
Bringing our kids up to understand Empathy and Compassion is HUGE. Helping them see that everyone has a story, and that everyone suffers in their own way helps our kids to be more understanding when they otherwise might not be. It gives them a bigger picture into real life issues--a world bigger than their own. And it can soften their hearts.
Teaching her this and us living by example, can give our kids a new way to how they might think about others.
It also helps them realize that they need compassion too. And I think if we realize that we want and need compassion, then it's a little easier to give it.