What five big lessons do you want to teach your kids, to take them through their lives?
It’s been hard to narrow it down to five. There are so many things I want my boys to learn, in order to become the men I so hope they will be.
But here’s my list:
Don’t make your first reaction to a situation “It wasn’t me” or “That’s not my problem”.
If you’re involved in something that’s gone wrong – be it a relationship that’s turned sour or a mistake that’s been made – don’t look to pass the buck or avoid the consequences.
It’s not always a matter of taking the blame, but of being responsible for the part you’ve played in a bad situation.
Mistakes are only human. Failing to own up to them is a choice.
Speaking as a parent, failing to make your child takes responsibility for how his actions affect others is a sure-fire way to raise a selfish, self-centred adult who shirks his obligations.
And, my lovely boys, I know you are better than that.
You never know til you try (so reach for the stars)
In life you’ll come across plenty of people who tell you “that can’t be done” or “it’ll never happen”.
They might be right. But give it a go and find out. I’ve achieved some of the best things in life after being told I was on a hiding to nothing.
If it’s physically possible, not against the law, and not likely to put you in danger, then you’ve got nothing to lose by trying.
The world is full of people too lazy to try. Even if you don’t succeed, you’ll stand out as someone who’s open to a challenge. And sometimes even getting halfway to your goal is a hell of a ride.
The world is full of people trying to put across their point of view, hell bent on shouting over each other.
Stand apart by taking the time to listen – even if they don’t show you the same courtesy.
You might not always agree. But hear them, before you make your decision. Everyone claims to listen, but they really don’t.
In relationships, in your working life, in pretty much everything you do, if you take time to listen, to really listen, before you say your piece then you’ll have more success and gain a lot of respect.
Look ‘em in the eye
Don’t spend your life staring at the floor. Be brave enough to look people in the eye and hold their gaze.
It shows confidence (even if you’re not feeling it) but most important of all, it shows sincerity and that you’re listening.
I don’t trust people who can’t look me in the eye – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Help people (even when there’s nothing in it for you)
It used to be called manners. Opening doors for people, giving up your seat on the bus, carrying someone’s heavy shopping bags.
Then it was suddenly “sexist” to offer a pregnant woman your chair. People shouted for equality. And in the confusion good old-fashioned chivalry disappeared.
But it comes down to helping people. And as far as I’m concerned that will never be politically incorrect.
If you see someone struggling, don’t ignore them. Offer help. They can always decline.
How can you expect others to be kind and selfless if you don’t lead the way?
What would be on your life lessons list?