It’s my eldest son Oliver’s 9th birthday today and while I plan to write a post about him, once I’ve taken some photos at his little party on Saturday, I wanted to share some life lessons I’ve passed onto both him and his brother (that were passed onto me by my own parents). 9 years in, it’s safe to say I feel settled in my role as a mum. I feel like a pretty good mum most of the time to be honest.
I’ve also learned as much from my kids, as they have from me.
Here’s 10 things I’ve taught them:
Be comfortable in who they are, and confident. I have worked hard to instil the importance of self-love to my sons, even before I practised it, myself. I don’t want them to feel less than as I did growing up, particularly during the school years: too loud, too thirsty for answers and knowledge; too much. I’ve taught them right from wrong and remind them daily that they must be happy in their skin, complimenting them on their wisdom, actions and personalities. I’ve told them it’s OK not to follow the crowd or conform. That they are individuals with a lot to offer this world. I encourage them to try new things so they can establish what they enjoy and want them to realise their potential.
Be kind. Tolerance and kindness is a big deal here, and I’ve taught my little guys that while we might not always be interested in every person we meet, or lesson, we must be polite. Kindness is the cousin of forgiveness. I drum it into the kids to always say sorry when they’ve wronged, and I apologise myself, in turn, when I mess up. ‘Sorry for shouting kids, I’m just a bit little (A LOT) stressed’… I try to practise what I preach, and I’m proud the boys are both loving little individuals with a strong moral compass.
To choose their friends wisely. To stay away from those who them feel lonely.
To remember everyone’s names and make eye contact when someone speaks to them. And, that a firm handshake goes a long way. No limp handshakes here.
Be silly and have fun whether that’s watching comedy movies (we’re obsessed with re-watching Dumb and Dumber), Corrie (a new love pre-watershed), dancing around the living room, inventing stories (Mama Ninja is an on-going series we’ve co-created), and simply not taking themselves too seriously.
To not endlessly boast (urgh) but equally toot their trumpet here and there.
To be grateful. To say thank you. Call their grandparents. Never take anything for granted. Understand the value of money (and that it doesn’t grow on trees) and comes from hard graft.
Give to charity and be generous, always. They often do charity visits with me and regularly bag up toys and clothes they no longer use or wear, helping me drop them off at local charity shops.
Have a strong voice and stand up for what they believe in from equality and the environment to animal welfare and more.
Good manners are important. Holding doors open, offering drinks and snacks to guests, and asking others how they are are things which matter.
What have I missed?
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