Original article by Hayley Goldberg, LMFT of Heart of Connecting

Childhood is the foundation of life. It is a magical time of innocence and wonder and a time for children to explore life with eyes wide open. As parents, we are blessed with the gift of nurturing and caring for our kids. We have the crucial job of teaching good habits and helping them learn the difference between right and wrong. How we teach and what meaningful life lessons and knowledge we choose to impart to our children guide how our children’s lives will develop, the adults they will become, and in time, how our children will come to influence others.

Have you thought about what you want to pass down to your children? What life lessons taught to you by family, friends, and life itself have resonated with you? What connections, meaning and purpose do you want to foster in your children and what contributions do you want them to make in their lives? Here are the life messages that are important to me. That is not to say I have perfectly mastered everything. These are the thoughts that reflect who I am and I try as much as possible to be a living example of what I hope to teach my children about life through these guiding thoughts.

  • Live simply. Try to detach from the materialistic stuff and focus on being more present in the moment. Don’t clutter your life with things. Be mindful of unnecessary stress, trivial matters, and constantly worrying what other people think.
  • Be thankful. Enjoy the good things, and remember to be thankful for the average things in life because daily life is mostly about the average.
  • Cherish family and friends. These are the important people in your life who matter the most. Take care of them, make time for them, and take pride in these relationships.
  • Have Goals. If you want to live a happy life embrace your passions and have goals that you nurture, work on and pursue. Do your best, don’t give up, and believe in yourself enough to know you have the power to reach your goals even when the path seems long and tangled.
  • Say please and thank-you and be kind. Being kind means being considerate of everyone. One positive interaction can change someone’s whole day and others deserve your respect. Manners don’t cost money.
  • Help others. We are all in this life together and you never know when you will need help. When you are in a position to help, do what you can. Even small gestures of help make a difference.

Raising a family today in a society that is fast paced, always changing, and full of external influences is challenging.  We need to be certain of the direction we are taking when deciding which values are important to teach and when showing our children how to live life in a way that matters and has meaning. Your children will take their cues from you. The best way to teach values to your children is to be a living example of what you teach. Mean what you say and teach what comes from your heart. Your parenting counts!