Family Life


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The 10 rules to teach my children for a great life

Fsb lara - the 10 rules to teach my children for a great lifeIf you could beam ten pieces of advice directly into the psyche of your kids, what would you choose?

I’ve been thinking about this question for a good, long while, and I’m ready to start testing out some theories.

If you’ve been playing along the last few months, you’ll know that I’m a huge proponent for the emotional intelligence of my kids. I really, truly, honestly believe that it’s my role as a parent to take the personalities of each kid, and enhance them by growing specific behaviours.

Because the right behaviours are the building blocks for life.

But what behaviours? That’s been a big part of my search over the last 12 months. I’ve done a lot of reading, a lot of talking with parents, and a whole bunch of observing my own kids through school, life and extracurriculars.

What I’ve come up with is this – there is no definitive list of behaviours. The 10 things I want to work on with my kids, probably wouldn’t fit with your kids. The reason is because we all come with innate abilities, biases and approaches. Some of the things on my list come naturally to other kids.

When I started the list, I wanted to work with four or five things, but the more I looked at it, the more it started to bulge with new ideas, new approaches and new ways to grow. I looked at them as a group, then looked at them individually and eventually came up with a map of things that can work for all of them.

Here’s the list:

1. Breathe

2. Break it down

3. Try

4. Try again

5. Care about important things

6. Be ready for anything

7. Say what you need

8 Understand others

9. Appreciate

10. Cultivate joy

When you unpack each of these, you find some pretty fascinating stuff. “Be ready for anything,” for example talks to flexibility, preparation and self control. I can use this rule to teach one of the kids how to deal with a weekend that isn’t fully scheduled. I can use it to teach other kids about saving money. 

If my kids can enter the world as people who do most of the things on this list, I think they’ll have the kinds of lives they’ll want. This isn’t about how they do in school, or what they do for a living – this is about having the fundamental characteristics that let them make the choices that they want for themselves.

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to talk about each of the things on this list – why I chose them, how I’m trying to instill and grow them. It’s going to be as much a learning experiment for me. I may be entirely deluding myself, thinking I have that much of an influence over my kids, but it’s worth a shot.

I’d love to hear from you throughout the process. Love to hear about your reaction to the list. Ideas you have for the list. Or approaches to emotional intelligence in your own home.

Wish me luck – it’s going to be an interesting run.

a man carrying two children

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