While we don’t have kids yet, and probably won’t for a while, I’ve been thinking lately about the legacy I want to leave behind to my children whenever they do come along. Each lesson is one I’m still learning myself, but if I teach my children nothing else, I will consider their raising a job well done.
Lesson One: Choose Encouragement, not Entitlement: Mark Twain once said, “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” Every day we have a choice to either be an encouragement to others or to drag others down by thinking they owe us something. Consider it more important to be a blessing than to be blessed.
Lesson Two: Choose Meaning, not Things: Amassing a room full of toys, video games, name brand clothing, IKEA furniture—insert any other material item here—will neither bring you happiness nor fulfillment. A life is not made from what we get but what we do with the things we already have—our time, our words, our actions.
Lesson Three: Choose Boredom, not Overstimulation: Boredom is the best conduit for creativity. Allow boredom to clear your mind and recalibrate your imagination. See the endless possibilities in all life’s situations and circumstances, and use them to their full potential.
Lesson Four: Choose Gratitude, not Complacency: Say “Thank You” because you mean it. Don’t become so comfortable with your life that you take it for granted. Pray at each meal because you’re truly thankful for clean water to drink and the opportunity to choose what you eat. Be a good steward of the resources you have by avoiding unnecessary waste, creatively reusing what others have discarded, and being generous to those in need.
Lesson Five: Choose Laughter, not Tears: Mistakes will happen. Feelings will be hurt. Bad days are guaranteed to come. Choose to learn from your mistakes. Choose to apologize and mean it. Choose to see the humor in every situation, and don’t let the little things in life become the big things.
How about you? What piece of advice have you shared with your children that you hope they cling to in adulthood? What one piece of advice has shaped the way you deal with life and all its ups and downs?
Allison Martin is a wife and writer who blogs about budgeting, health, beauty, fashion, pop culture, organization, creative ways to stretch a dollar, and a little bit of everything else in between over at The Budget Maven: Living on Less with Style (www.budgetmaven.wordpress.com). You can also follow her on Twitter @thebudgetmaven or find her on Facebook (The Budget Maven).
Thank you, Allison, for being the Guest Host today on SOAR WITH EAGLES and for sharing sage and practical advice on childrearing. Please visit Allison Martin’s blog at: www.budgetmaven.wordpress.com
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012