Many of us adults grew up barely making it. Some of us grew up so poor that we couldn’t afford the “or” and were just “Po.” Poverty has and always will an issue. Many climb their way out of challenging financial circumstances and make their parents proud. Some give back to the communities they came from in hopes that they can help bring someone else up. There are others, however, who want to do everything in their power to forget where they came from and sadly that includes forgetting lessons in humility as well.
Humility defined by Merriam Webster online is “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble.” What are you teaching the ones you’re raising about humility? Some of the best life lessons for kids are by using humility as a guide to help them become self-sufficient as they age. Here are a few tips to help your child be ok when it’s time for them to take the reigns over their own life. The reality is, we parents we simply won’t be around forever or be able to manage things in their lives once they become adults.
- Teach them how to save money and not use credit for everything. Even when you use a debit card in their mind it is often credit they think you are using.
- Teach them about acting off of impulses. If they wait an hour to do what they MUST do right now, that gives them time to think about whether it’s really that important.
- Teach them how to balance a checkbook and be accountable for the small things they buy that add up to big deficits in their bank account.
- Don’t give them everything simply because you didn’t have it growing up. The real world doesn’t work like that and they will feel deprived and more apt to live outside of their means as they start out. This will begin a vicious cycle of debt.
- Teach them how to cook basic foods, foods that last and simple things like washing clothes or sewing a button. Many know about college students living off of Ramen noodles but what about teaching them to make a simple pot of chili, rice and beans or spaghetti. This will last them a lot longer than buying a pizza every night. At least when they run out of money they can still eat. Also dry cleaners can be expensive so sewing a button for free vs. paying $10 for someone else to do it will make a difference.
- Teach them to bargain shop. Don’t take for granted they see you coupon clipping or looking for sales on clothes. Show them how much money they can save AND what they can do with the surplus.
- Make a mini pay-stub for their allowance. This alerts them to the realities of taxes and our buddy FICA who taps our checks when get paid so they don’t plan to overspend.
- Give them the 10% rule early. That’s how much of each check they should be putting away for savings so they don’t crash and burn if they lose a job.
- Teach them not everyone in the world is going to be good to them. We want to protect our children from realities that are scary but how will they survive against the giants of today’s evil if you’ve never let them experience the feeling of being cautious. Don’t be the next parent on the news mourning if you don’t have to be.
- Teach them the art of losing gracefully and being resilient. Many programs for kids today give trophies and ribbons to all kids for participating. Though this seems nice, it’s a totally unrealistic view on life. If you worry more about hurting their feelings than preparing them for the job that isn’t fair or the life that isn’t fair YOU are setting them up for failure and it’ll rip your heart out to see them suffer as an adult.
- Be honest about how good sex feels and how some drugs can make them feel great BUT the consequences that go with these things like addiction and STD’s. Everything that feels good isn’t good for you.
- Allow them to see you sad sometimes. Pretending to be happy every day is just not healthy. Now laying around wallowing in sorrow isn’t the picture I’m painting but resiliency is often taught by our kids seeing us being able to be down but pick up the pieces the next day. They need this skill!
- Don’t assume you’re not teaching your kids to have unconscious bias against others. A recent documentary showed kids whose parents didn’t have any friends of color thought their parents didn’t like minorities. Parents were heartbroken and didn’t realize that’s the message they sent. I’s not always what you say but what you don’t say that can teach lessons we regret later.
- Teach your sons and daughters to be self-reliant, listen to intuition and depend on themselves. People will let you down! How many times have you let yourself down? Having high expectations others don’t’ meet often destroys us emotionally. Teach them to be realistic about expectations.
- Teach them about gratitude and the value of human life. Most of our success in life comes from the attitude we have. Also, today’s murder rate is continuing to surge and we often don’t use the same moral compass of yesteryear to help kids understand that EVERY life matters , even those where you don’t agree with the person’s lifestyle.
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Photo: Flickr/Rex Pe