Since becoming a mom, I believe that one of my biggest jobs is to raise decent human beings that grow up to be contributing members of society. Important characteristics on my list that I expect are: being polite and kind to (almost) everyone, having responsibilities, being able to speak to anyone, and taking care of our earth. The number one way of teaching all these things are to do them myself and be a great role model.
Manners and Kindness
I refuse for my kids to ever be a bully or “mean girl”. They will be the one who takes the new kid in school under their wing or comforts a friend when someone else hasn’t been so nice. From a very young age, we have taught kindness, grace and manners towards everyone, including ourselves. Our family is fortunate that our kids have the opportunity to be in a diverse school and are exposed to kids different from themselves.
We all know and should teach kids about “Stranger Danger” and that is my exception for kindness and manners. They still look to me for permission to speak to a stranger who has first spoken to them.
At a certain age, manners were not only encouraged, but expected. It is easy to get out of the habit of good manners, even for adults, so this is always a work in progress. The hardest one for the kiddos these days is interrupting.
So many days I find myself picking up after the kids or doing one of their chores for them. I must stop myself and back up. It is way easier to do it myself, but it is not teaching them anything. They do have daily chores. The older kids have more, but all three of them are expected to make their bed daily, pick up after themselves and get their belongings out of the car. The last one seems to be the hardest for them. Somehow, they seem to produce trash when riding in my car even on the shortest trip. It boggles my mind!
Ease of Conversation
My husband and I are naturally shy people. It wasn’t until adulthood that we could have a conversation with anyone and everyone. It is still not the easiest things for me, but I no longer have huge anxiety meeting and talking to new people. This is not something that I would like to be mastered by the kiddos at a young age to make it easier for them in the long run. We constantly put them in situations for them to grow in this area.
Taking Care of our Earth
Being good to Mother Earth is always a work in progress as we learn more and more. My kids would never even think about littering, it has been instilled since birth as has recycling. We are all working on wasting less electricity by turning off lights and being conscious of running water. So many toxic chemicals have been cleaned out of our home that will no longer go into the water system or our body and hopefully never to return.
There is always room for improvement. I am not a perfect mom and I don’t have perfect kids. We all do the best that we can. While everything ebbs and flows, I will continue with my goal. What is important to you that you teach your kids? What are your best teaching tools?