Recently I read a news story of an altercation that occurred between two men. To the best of my recollection, one man was taking a walk with his young nephew and the nephew spotted a shiny balloon attached to one of the mailboxes along their route. The little guy wanted the balloon, so he took it.
Here’s where the problem came in:
The homeowner came out and told the kid he couldn’t have it. The uncle was furious. After all, it was just a balloon and the owner didn’t really need the balloon. And it got
ugly uglier from there…
The comments associated with that story all sided with the nephew. Mostly they blasted the homeowner as being stingy. And, yeah, it does seem a little over the top to get into a fight over a balloon, but what blew my mind was that no one – not one comment that I read – stated the obvious: The balloon belonged to the homeowner who had the right to decide if he wanted to give it away or keep it.
What the heck are we doing? We’re raising a generation of kids who have no idea that the world doesn’t revolve around their wants.
As parents, we have the unique opportunity to change that mentality – one parenting choice at a time.
With that in mind, I’d like to share a few points I think are important for us to teach our kids. Feel free to share your additions (or rebuttals) in the comments.
Granted some of the following will need to be taught in age-appropriate increments, but, for the love of Pete, let’s teach them.
Their future spouses, employers/employees, and co-workers will be ever so grateful.
1. Life’s not fair.
2. Just because you want it doesn’t mean you should ~ or can ~ have it. Just think of the effect that concept might have on their future credit card bills alone!
3. Constructive criticism is a good thing. Our kids should be willing to accept criticism that moves them toward improvement without being defensive. It’s important to learn early that growth comes from a humble heart that’s willing to learn.
4. Nobody cares if you’ve had a bad day. Well, of course, family and friends do care what’s going on in your life, but having a bad day shouldn’t excuse mean bratty behavior.
5. You can’t win ’em all. No, seriously. Don’t let your kids buy into the baloney that “we’re all winners.” Sometimes we lose. And it’s important to learn to lose with grace and not take away from the actual winner’s moment. By that same token…
6. Be a gracious winner. We’ve all experienced the awkwardness of being in the presence of a sore loser, but quite honestly a gloating, strutting winner ranks right up there in the “get over it” category. While it’s certainly normal to feel proud of our accomplishments, it’s not ok to purposely make someone else feel like dirt.
7. Every single choice you make has a consequence.
8. Nobody owes you anything.
9. Show others ~ EVERYONE ~ the level of respect that you would like to be shown. Now, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get it in return; the only person you can control is yourself. What matters is that YOU are showing it to others…
and that ever-important…
I know it’s a big goal…but let’s see if we can start a grassroots-level movement to be a kinder, gentler society…
Can you think of any lessons I missed? Please add them below…
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