It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and as parents, you are in charge of preparing your children to one day face the realities of this harsh world on their own. And today, that means a lot of potential trouble waiting on their plate. So what piece of advice will you give them as they are preparing to leave the safety of the family nest? What final words of wisdom will prepare them for — “Life in the real world!”
Now of course, and hopefully, your children will never actually be facing this cruel world truly alone. You will always be there to help them, to help guide and support them, even from afar if need be.
But as young adults want to do, they will become ever increasingly independent and soon enough your words in their mind will no longer always ring true. And as you with your parents, and theirs with theirs, so goes the lifecycle of independence and living life as an individual on one’s own terms.
WORDS OF WISDOM
When I was very young, I one day asked my father if there really was a Santa Claus. — “What do you think son?” Was his answer. Later on, a little older now, I asked him if there really was a God. — “That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself son” was his answer.
Big help he was, right? Or was he?
Instead of answering what he knew or what he believed, he made me figure it out for myself. He taught me the art of critical thinking. He bestowed in me doubt, self reasoning and a curiosity to find things out for myself. A gift I will forever be indebted. A Fathers wisdom passed on, and one that still serves me well even today.
So as this example shows, our life messages to our children are not always one-on-one sit down discussions. Oh, perhaps when they are older and able to comprehend fully what point we’re trying to get across. But when they’re young, we tend to be more explanatory in our approach …
“No, that’s wrong son because…” Or, “That was a good thing you did today, because…”
Beyond the sit down talks and the praise or criticism sessions with our children, most of our teachings as a parent come without any words at all. As role models, children learn most by simply watching us: Our everyday actions and reactions. How we handle different situations and our emotional responses to, well, to everything!
Including most of all, how we react to them! So in essence, we have been teaching our children continuously everyday of their lives. They have been watching, listening and learning daily from the actions of the most important people in their yet young lives. Us!
Now of course we are not perfect ourselves. Far from it and have made our mistakes along the long road of parenting ways. And as emotional human beings we at times have presented ourselves to our children in, let’s say, a less than haloed light. Arguments happen within the family itself. Life-lessons your child takes notice of.
And what about adapting our teachings to the changing times? Are we not guilty at times of relying on the hard rules our own parents demanded of us? Are these old handed down life lessons still even applicable today?
Is there some advice from your parents that still sticks with you even today? Bodes well in your life today? Perhaps even still relatable to your children? What about the opposite, some bad advice passed on that you have noted never to give to your child?
Then there’s the life-lessons you’ve learned from years of simply watching your parents interact. Did your parents for instance, argue often and harshly, and you have vowed to never subject your children to this behavior. Or perhaps, in your eyes, they doted more on your brother or sister than they did on you?
“Mom always did, like you best!”
Now on the flip side, perhaps they were openly generous people and you have vowed to be the same. Life-lessons you’ve learned simply by observing as a child. The same way your children observe and learn from you!
YOU DID YOUR BEST
So what words of wisdom will you pass on about the big bad world and how to survive in it? Have you have properly prepared them, given them the right tools, the right knowledge? Are you confident that they can safely and intelligently meet head-on the troubles that surely will await them?
Will they go on to be a good person, a caring person and a person emotionally equipped to traverse the complexities of a harsh and ever-changing world?
Are they ready — for the real world?
Now of course, nobody, even perhaps the greatest teachers in the world can cover all that needs to be learned. And not just for the now, but for the unseen future they will face. Life is after all, a long winding road, a journey of the unknown. An up and down roller coaster ride of good times and bad.
But you did the best you could. And that’s all anyone is capable of doing! All you can do now is hope. Deep inside your heart you hope. — That your best, will be enough!
THE QUESTION REVISED!
So what are/were your words of wisdom to your child as they prepared to leave the family nest?
Or maybe your children are still young? And you still have time to teach them what they should know?
Or perhaps your children have long gone? And in retrospect, perhaps you have missed something important, some advice you wish you had passed on. Perhaps something pertaining to the changing times, that now seems more relevant or important than it did back then.
So let me rephrase the question…
What in your mind are the important things to teach a child “today” about life in the real world?
THINGS TO PONDER
What about your core beliefs about religion or politics? Would you press upon your children to hold dear these beliefs, because you do? Because your parents did? Would you pass on these beliefs as words of wisdom before they leave? Or would you let them go out and make up their own minds about these things as well?
Perhaps our words of wisdom should fall more upon life-skills than on personal ideals and long held beliefs? After all, they are of you, but not a direct copy of who you are. They are in essence, who they will become!
So maybe guidance is to be best applied and not molded?
Then again, as parents, it’s your choice either way!
There are many other advice choices to ponder. What about money? Handling one’s finances? Or lessons about marriage, relationships and the opposite sex. The maintaining of health, exercise, proper foods, avoidance of smoking, excessive drinking or drugs. — The list is virtually endless!
Will any of these make your priority list?
Your last words of wisdom before your child goes it alone in the real world?
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What in your mind are the important things to teach a child “today” about life in the real world? What’s your priority list of advice you wish to impart? Have imparted. Or wish you had?
As your child prepares to enter life in the real world…
What will be your final — Words of Wisdom?
” It is your duty to teach your children how to think, not what to think” — Anonymous
” Don’t worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you.’ — Robert Fulghum