Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Life Lessons to Teach Kids Before They Leave Home - Joel Peterson

I came across this post by Joel Peterson, Chairman, JetBlue Airways. Stanford Business School. I do feel it is necessary to be aware of these lessons as Parents so that you can teach your children before they leave home.

As a parent, I've felt the temptation many times to sit my kids down and drill them on life’s important lessons – especially the ones I had to learn the hard way. But this approach can be a fool’s errand; we all know kids insist on making their own mistakes. My admonitions wouldn't have worked on them any better than my parents’ lectures worked on me.

If you’ve come to the same conclusion, though, don't despair: there’s still a way to get through to them. Your kids are always taking mental notes, even when you’re not looking. Like it or not, your actions are at the core of what your kids will take with them into their adult lives. Seen through their young eyes, what you say and do in your own life will be the example they retain in spite of themselves.

Had I been able to put into words the living lecture I'd have wanted to give my own kids for a head start in life, it would have gone something like this:
  1. Don’t be afraid to fail: If you never fail at anything, you may be aiming too low, playing it safe, and doing what Stephen Covey used to call “playing par 9 golf.” So, keep challenging yourself, even – and especially – after defeats. Emerson wrote, “When it’s darkest, men see the stars.” Failure and adversity are among the best ways to grow and to learn. (See these 10 quotes about perseverance in the face of adversity.)
  2. Find the good in yourself. We all deserve to feel good about ourselves, without the need to derive our sense of self-worth from the people around us. Taken together, the judgments of teachers, parents, bosses and friends amount to a hall of funhouse mirrors – one in which you’ll never get an accurate reflection of yourself. If you grow up longing for approval, you’ll risk becoming a pleaser, dependent on others for your sense of security and well-being. The opinions of those around you – though worth considering – are slender reeds on which to base your self-image. Instead, pick what matters most to you and stick with it.
  3. And see the good in others, too. The harvest from showing genuine interest and respect to others is almost invariably an increase in your own self-esteem. The world is full of other people, so don’t go through life dismissing them, seeking distance from them, or being shy or afraid. Showing respect – and even reverence – for other humans is virtually always a “win-win” proposition.
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