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Parents share 7 important lessons they want to impart on their kids after the year that was 2020

As we head towards the holiday season, gifting becomes something on our minds. What we’ve all been shown this year especially, is that people are what matter most, and not things.

With this in mind, which gifts can we give our little people that will serve them long after we’re gone?

Here are some lessons other parents mentioned that they wanted to impart to their children.

The ability to deal with change

2020 has shown us the unpredictability of the world. If it’s one trait we want to leave our kids with, it’s being able to be adaptable in an uncertain future. Beyond these skills though, we need to teach them that things do change and that’s okay – this acceptance of change is not a natural human trait, so our attitude in terms of how we approach change is vital. After all, our children will model themselves on us.

Acceptance of self

“Never be shy of your identity and love yourself,” says mom Nazreen Mohamed. The world needs all types of people and the ability to embrace your quirks, your unique personality, and your skills, is a valuable one. Most of all, it’s about happiness though – if we’re happy within ourselves, we will generally establish healthier relationships with others, something we all want for our kids.

Finding joy

Caroline Mackrill from Cape Town says she hopes that her children “can find joy in the everyday”. Whether it’s birdsong in the morning, the feel of warm sunshine on their skin, or the satisfaction of simply growing a plant from a seed, the secret to happiness lies in the small things, as well as the big. If we can find joy in everyday moments, we can live more mindfully, enjoying the present instead of focusing too much on past regrets, or a future we cannot control. And if finding joy seems like an impossible task on your own, there is always help. Fedhealth offers its members an Emotional Wellbeing Programme providing a dedicated call centre to help with trauma, personal coaching and more.

Kindness

We’ve all felt the value of kindness this year, as we’ve dealt with various challenges. The concept of kindness can be extended to empathy, the ability to imagine how others may feel and respond in a considerate way. Shanley Price Schaefer runs an emotional intelligence program for children called Heart Matters and she recommends using situations we experience in the world around us to start these conversations with our kids. “Whether it’s writing a card to a sick friend, or donating a sandwich to someone in need, life grants us many ways to model empathy – we just need to use them,” she says.

ALSO SEE: Photos of 3-year-old lending a helping hand to Ackermans staff goes viral

Resilience, perseverance and consistency

We all need resilience, but how do we cultivate this in our kids? The truth is that the fastest way to get stronger is to experience difficult situations. The hard part is that no parent likes to see their child unhappy, so we tend to shelter them from anything that challenges them. These could be small things, like not making a sports team, or harder things, like facing up a to a bully. But these are opportunities for growth and if we approach them by offering our children the tools to deal with them themselves, we’re helping build resilience.

Part of resilience is also consistency and perseverance – our children will not achieve their goals if they view failure as absolute, and a reason to quit. Marie Forlio was correct when she wrote that “Success doesn’t come from what we do occasionally, it comes from what we do consistently”.

Appreciate what you have

Lundi Alexander says the lesson she wants her kids to take away from this year is “To always value and appreciate all that you have. Love everyone but cherish those you are with as tomorow is not guarenteed.”

Kayleen Telemachus and Grace Paradza Tsodzo both agree with this. Life is a gift and you should appreciate what you have now they say.

Be flexible

Ruthann Sedgwick Amoore says the lesson she wants her kids to take away from this year is to be flexible. “Things don’t always have to go our way!” And this is so true – and a great lesson for everyone to take away from the chaotic year this has been. You have to adapt to your circumstances.

Roxanne Brockley adds that this year has also taught us and our kids to think outside the box – which is a great skill to have for everyone.

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