As a parent, I often find myself wondering who my son will be when he grows up. What will he enjoy? What career will he choose? Will he find love and have a family of his own? What I
worry wonder about most, however, is if I’m preparing him for a life where the answers to those questions are not only positive but fulfilling. Am I adequately preparing him to be a good person, make healthy choices, and be happy? To make sure I’m properly guiding him toward adulthood, I’ve been reflecting on what life lessons are important for him to know.
Sure, there are millions of life lessons yet to be taught. After all, he is only two. He still needs to learn everything from the concept of religion to why we don’t stick things in our noses. That’s a pretty huge range of things I need to work on teaching him!
Below are the 10 most important life lessons I want my son to learn. These are what I want to be his guiding light for his life as he figures out who he is and what his priorities are. If I get these right and he learns them well, there will be no bounds to what he can achieve or who he can be in this world.
10 life lessons my son needs to know
Life Lesson #1: Kindness, compassion, and empathy are never an inconvenience.
We may not be able to change the world singlehanded, but we can make a world of difference to one person through our attitude and actions. When given two choices, always choose the one that adds goodness to the world.
Life Lesson #2: Man or woman, black or white, gay or straight. This is not the way you should view humans; we are all people.
Divisiveness can be dangerous. Our differences may stand out or be subtle, but no matter what we are all the same at our core. Our differences should be celebrated but we should all be treated the same.
Life Lesson #3: Animals are our equals.
Their existence is no less valuable than our own. They are not to be mistreated in any way and deserve love and affection. Learn about them, care for them, and when you see injustice against them, be their voice.
Life Lesson #4: Your body deserves to be cared for; not to be appealing to others but to be healthy.
You only get one body. Choose healthy habits that treat it well. You’ll be glad you did as your body ages. Avoid unhealthy habits as much as possible, but go easy on yourself when you make mistakes. Your mental health is part of your overall health and is just as important as your physical health.
Life Lesson #5: Your spouse will be your partner in this life; nothing more and nothing less.
Do not put expectations on your partner. It isn’t their job to make you whole, be your parent, or obey you. If you aren’t happy with yourself, don’t expect them to fix you. This is something a lot of people get wrong and it can wreak havoc on a marriage.
Life Lesson #6: Choose a spouse wisely.
On the other side of number 5, you and your partner are a team; neither is in charge and neither should be submissive…all the time. A healthy relationship requires give and take. Your partner should always be respectful of you, be compromising (as should you with them) and be willing to share in the work it takes to run a marriage, a household, and a family. There are no designated jobs in the family. Everyone should care for each other, be understanding and accepting and above all, love one another unconditionally.
Life Lesson #7: Choose a career for the love of the work, not for the size of the paycheck.
Money is a valuable and dangerous part of life. We need it to live, but more than necessary can ruin us. And no matter how much money you have, you will never be happy if you hate what you do. No amount of vacations, expensive commodities, or lavish outings can ever make up for the happiness you lose doing something you hate, being overworked, or enduring excessive stress.
Life Lesson #8: Find joy in the simple things in life.
If you can find joy in the simple and ordinary moments in life, you will never be at risk of losing your happiness. Happiness shouldn’t be dependent on someone or something outside ourselves. It needs to come from within. Learn to appreciate your simple existence, the summer breeze, the hug of a loved one, the curiosity in a child’s eyes. Don’t just appreciate them, savor them. You never know when something you once took for granted could disappear forever.
Life Lesson #9: Be playful and carefree. Don’t take life, or yourself, too seriously.
Life is meant to be enjoyed, it is not a competition. There is no prize for accumulating wealth, reaching the top of the corporate ladder, having the biggest house, or living life a life others expect. Find your passion, live your dreams, and explore the world. There are so many things that this world can offer you. Don’t miss out on them because you were too busy, had too much work to do, or thought it was childish or beneath you. Sometimes, the carefree, wild-eyed heart of a child is what we need to find within ourselves and follow to enjoy life to it’s fullest.
Life Lesson #10: Love. Love wide and deep and without fear.
Choosing to love comes with great risks. It comes with even greater rewards. There are no guarantees in this life. Don’t hesitate, overthink, or worry too much. Most things will work themselves out and be okay in the end. So take the chance to love. And always make sure that those you love never question your love for them. There is no shame or embarrassment to be had from expressing our love.
The greatest gifts we can give our children are love and knowledge. Not only giving them love from ourselves but instilling in them love for others. And not only giving them knowledge but also the desire to continue to learn and grow and teach others.
We only have so many years where they will listen and do as we say. Then we must set them free into the world and hope that our short time with them made them the person we hope they’ll be. Hopefully, they’ll still listen and learn from us after that.
These are the 10 life lessons that will set my son up for a beautiful life. Whether he continues to listen to me or not, I’ll spend a lifetime making sure I get these right.
What life lessons do you think are most important for your children to learn?
-To your Better Life-