The Most Important Life Skill To Teach Your Child

Past tense, if I had to answer the question of what is the most important life skill a parent should teach their children, I would have answered with something along the lines of kindness, respect, character, commitment, etc.

Furthermore, I would have also held up a blue, Lion King imprinted Pull Up along side the porcelain potty and described how I delivered an ingenious and convincing SWOT analysis on potty training to the four year old. Why? That was the focus of the day. The half bag of Pull Ups in my kid’s bedroom is a testament to the strong willed genetic predisposition my children are “blessed” with.

Current tense, I have more of a bird’s eye perspective.

Every single one of our children are strategically placed into a war the moment their DNA begins to replicate. For some, the struggle begins in the womb and the fight to live a whole life begins before the first breathe. Other children undergo environments and experiences that directly cause them to start life’s battleground on the front line with no training and no arsenal with which to defend themselves. The scary part is even those kids who have ideal circumstances are still failing to live whole, happy lives.

How do we as parents ensure that our children turn out okay? I ask myself this alot.

I don’t know if that is a realistic burden a parent should put on themselves. Do many of us ignorantly attempt to control their destinies anyway? Sure we do. So what can we do now while they are young and in the training stages of life that might make a real impact?

The most important life skill I want to teach my children is this:

Know what you will do when life gets hard.

The good times are fairly easy to navigate. The difficult times are the moments that define futures.

These are the conversations I’m now having with my kids, or, more accurately, ATTEMPTING to have with them.

“What will you do when things don’t turn out how you expected or when circumstances aren’t fair?”

“Bruh! I’ll go to college for a few years. It’ll be dope” Kid#1

What or who will you turn to when you experience devastating loss? How will you relieve negativity and sadness? What are the pros and cons of specific choices and paths?”

“Eat cheese puffs, go on my iPad with my headphones and watch videos” Kid#2 

“Here are the options laid out for you clear as day my dears. Guess what kiddo? It’s your choice. My job as a mother is to steer you in the right direction the best way I know how, communicate what can happen in this life either through our choices or by mere circumstances and direct you to find the best coping strategies based on your personality and interests.”

“What’s coping? You know what I’m interested in mom? You buying me a cell phone because I’m the ONLY sixth grader without one.” Kid#1

The world’s definition of success and real success are two different things. I want your life to be a real success, but in the end, it is your choice.”

“Mom, you have a weiner.” Kid#3

“Mama isn’t perfect. She messes up sometimes and it’s okay for YOU to accept that you will never be perfect. Never use imperfection as an excuse not to do the right thing. I love you no matter what but I will hold you accountable. You have a lot to learn and I will help you.”

“I don’t know what this subject is but I don’t like it.” Kid#2

“This is who God is. He is real, this is why we love Him, here are examples of what He wants you to become and this is why you are valued and loved by Him.”

“Wait what? I wasn’t paying attention.” Kid#1

“There are also bad guys that will try to get you to make bad choices every single day. Some you can clearly see and some you can’t. There are good guys that will be there to help you along the way. Some you can see and some you can’t. Sometimes you are that good guy and sometimes you are that bad guy. You’re learning wisdom when you can recognize the difference and change behavior for the better.”

“Zombies are bad guys. I kill dem. I cut off dier weiner. Hi-yah!” Kid#3

So there you have it. I think it’s the most important life skill I want to teach my kids. I never said it was going to be easy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Value As A Mother

I’ll let you in on a little secret I have learned. It doesn’t matter if you are a mother who works outside of the home or one that spends every waking hour with your children. All mothers struggle with finding their value.

In fact, every individual desperately desires significance and we often look for that in all the wrong places before ideally understanding our purpose.

Life circumstances, divine intervention and the financial reality that my husband and I will most likely have three children in college over a span of TEN years, has resulted in a major life change for us. Mama is going back to paid work! In fact, I start TOMORROW. Fortunately, I thrive on change and I’ll be resuming career work in a field that I thoroughly enjoy. However, regardless of job status, my “value” remains unchanged.

Interestingly enough, when my oldest two were little and I worked outside of the home, I always felt guilty for being away from them so much. Ironically, for the first three years of being with them full-time and adding on a third kid, I felt guilt for not contributing financially and frustrated with having little tangible goal achievement. In either role, I had a hard time determining my value. For the last three years, I found contentment in my role and changed my mindset. Now that my daily duties are changing again, I now know that my value is steadfast.

If you are a mother struggling to find your value in whatever season of life you are in, I share these three truths on motherhood that I have learned.

1. Our purpose as mothers is to love our children

It’s quality time not quantity. When we are with them, make the time count. Play with them, make lasting memories, meet their daily needs, allow them to grow up in the healthiest family environment you can provide and show them the discipline when they need it.

Also, when you have bad days and feel you have accomplished no loving of any kind, then that means you are normal.

2. Our purpose as mothers is to communicate with our children

This one is particularly tough. Why can’t they all be the same and why are we always tired, right? Of my three kids, one tends to keep emotions bottled in, the other won’t stop talking and the third tends to want to have heart to heart discussions right at bedtime after he has stalled for forty five minutes and I’m about to drop from exhaustion.

As they get older and spend more time at school and with friends more than they do with us, we have to make the increasingly limited one on one time intentional, introspective and investigative. Regardless of our employment status, there is the certain reality that our influence and talk time will become less but diligently working to communicate a safe and honest open door policy is a must.

3. Our purpose as mothers is to provide for our children

Whether that means through food on the table, a trip to the park, college funds, our limited free hours spent at their extracurriculars, etc., mothers make it happen.

Learning and accepting our value as mothers is a process and it isn’t how much money we can save for or spend on them. Nor is it how many awards our children can accumulate. Value also isn’t necessarily defined if our children choose to make the right choices 100% of their adult lives because at some point they become accountable for their own actions.

What mother is perfect? None. What mother tries their best? Most. What mother has value in what they do and who they are? ALL.

As I return back to career work tomorrow, I take these truths with me and believe myself to be a better mother and employee. When mothers are at work, we’ve got this, because we can juggle chaos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. When mothers are at home, we’ve got this, because we know that loving our family means putting the family unit first when we are together.

Mothers are imperfect, yet perfection in our own unique way.

Do what you do and how you do it mama because the value of motherhood is priceless.