7 Lessons I Hope I’ve Taught My Children

Living life in line with your core values is essential for your emotional wellbeing, but consciously identifying those values can be more difficult than it sounds. One way to bring those values to the surface is to write a list of lessons you hope your children (or nieces, or nephews, or friends children) have learned from you.

Years ago I wrote a letter to my children. In it there was a bunch of stuff, but the guts of it was 7 lessons that I hoped they had learned from me.

1. When someone is sick, stressed or grieving, they don’t want to hear ‘Let me know if I can do anything to help’.
They don’t know what they need any more than you do, and even if they did, chances are they are not going to ask. Show some initiative. Cook a meal, do some baking or drop off a bag of groceries. I can’t think of a single situation where those things wouldn’t be useful. Don’t wait to be asked, just turn up and leave it on the doorstep.

2. Money is not an indication of character.
Being poor does not make a person lazy or a poor decision maker. Sure, we all have a shot at ‘making it’, but if you think we’re all shooting from the same place on the court, you’re seriously kidding yourself. Be grateful that you were born close to the net, and do what you can to help people shooting from behind the back line.

Being rich does not make a person greedy or stingy. You have had the opportunity to do some amazing things in your life, thanks to the generosity of people wealthier than I.  You have no clue how they have generated their wealth and what they choose to do with it is none of your business.

3. You have more stuff than you will ever need.
If you ever have to choose between buying more stuff and helping someone in need; always do the latter.

4. Sometimes life can get hard; really, really hard.
In fact, sometimes it can feel like you’ve been chewed up and spat out. It’s okay to be kind to yourself. Run away if you have to, sleep in, take the day off, curl up under a duvet and watch a movie. But never let ‘hard’ be a reason to not try again. Anything worth doing takes effort.

5. How much you are being paid should never determine how hard you work.
I don’t care if you’re working for minimum wage or $200 an hour, if you agreed to do the job, do it well. Work for every minute you are paid and then some. In every role you take on, you have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. It might be in the life of your boss, your colleague or your customer. Don’t waste the opportunity by slacking off.

6. Friendship is complicated, especially when you are young.
Your values and interests will change, grow and evolve, and so will those of the people around you. You don’t have to stay friends with every person you meet, but you should always stay kind. Kindness is the shortest bridge between differences.

7. Sometimes you get thrown a curve ball and life as you know it gets completely turned upside down.
When this happens, cry, scream, shout and get angry if you need to, but never lose your faith in God. You won’t always understand why something had to happen, but trust that there is a plan that is much bigger than you.

What would your 7 lessons be?