Every parent I know wants nothing but the best for their kids. This definitely includes me.
My wife and I have two lovely kids – a girl and a boy. At their still very young age, they are the cutest little things and we enjoy watching them grow. Between all the fun and cuteness however, we take the time to teach some life lessons for kids as well.
I’m old enough now to understand that my upbringing played a huge role in shaping the man I have become.
If my kids are going to be better than their dad, there are lessons I hope to instill in them to push them to success in life.
Let’s take a closer look at some…
- Moral Lessons for kids
- Life Lessons for elementary students
- Values to teach your child
- Life skills for kids, and
- Family life lessons
Life Lessons For Kids #1: Put God First
Not everyone reading this will be a believer in God. We can all agree, however, that there is a higher power that drives our universe.
I personally fully believe that higher power has a name. His name is God.
I remember growing up in a religious Episcopalian setting. We never missed church. Never. More importantly though, I had a front row seat to the transition my parents went through. From churchgoers to actual believers.
If my kids are to succeed in life, I will do my best to teach them to put God first in everything they do.
Putting God first automatically takes the self out of the equation. It immediately transforms us from self-serving, to having the heart of a giver, a servant, and one always open to helping others.
My kids learning this lesson at an early age is super important.
Life Lessons For Kids #2: Fail Big
I remember growing up in the West African country of Nigeria. Not having a whole lot as a family but sticking it out together.
I learned a few valuable life lessons when I decided to move stateside. Don’t ever quit. You’ll get a ton of no’s along the way, but keep on persevering. I was especially told not to aspire for the American Dream, but to stay put.
Stay put. Your parents cannot afford it, I was told. Glad I didn’t listen.
My kids today have opportunities they would perhaps never have had if I had listened to all the no’s.
Another recent recollection I have is sitting for my CPA exams. I made every excuse under the sun for fear of failure. Not until I faced those fears head-on was I able to sit for and pass all 4 sections in a row.
These are life skills to teach kids and moral life lessons for elementary students.
I’m teaching my kids not to be afraid of failure, but to fail, and fail big. The biggest successes often come out of learning from failing.
Lesson 3: Take Some Risks
The third life lesson I’m open to teaching my kids is to take calculated risks. I don’t want them running off and doing every crazy thing under the sun. I also don’t want them simply hanging out on the sidelines either.
There’s risk in all of life. Heck, having kids in the first place is a risk. All you’re doing half the time as a parent is stopping them from harming themselves.
Same goes for education and business. I’m teaching my kids to “bet the farm” and go for the very best. If you’re homeschooling, these are also good lessons to teach at school – home school that is.
I mentioned earlier leaving Nigeria and moving to the states. What I didn’t mention was I moved here with close to nothing.
I spent my first few nights of college on the apartment sofa of the African Student’s Association Chairman. I scrubbed the floors of the cafeteria for minimum wage and cozied up to the cooks for scraps; and I off-loaded Martin Brower semi trucks at McDonald’s to pay my tuition.
Was leaving home worth the risk? Absolutely.
Are these moral life lessons for kids to listen to and learn from? You bet.
Life Lessons For Kids #4: Set High Goals
As Denzel Washington eloquently put it”
Goal-setting is the ultimate motivational tool. It gives perspective and a clear vision of what you are aiming to achieve.
I want my kids to set super high goals. I am NOT one to push my children so hard that they believe anything but Mark Zurckerberg type success is a failure.
I do want them to want better. Bigger. These are basic life lessons.
The desire to want more and aim higher are important life skills to teach kids.
Daddy grew up in a third world country. Mommy was a foster child who never had a dad and lost her mom at a young age. And yet, here we are. Here you are!
It’s okay for my kids to understand they need to surpass us, and surpass us by a whole lot.
I believe this is how to teach children. Tap into your own experiences and help them grow and learn from it.
Lesson 5: Constantly Measure Performance Against Set Goals
What’s the point of setting goals if you don’t measure performance?
Review your goals with consistence and tweak them as need be. They are your goals. They need to me measurable and attainable – but not so attainable they really shouldn’t be goals in the first place.
What gets inspected, gets respected. Sounds more like a cheesy slogan, but is in fact a powerful life lesson for kids.
I want the kids to constantly reevaluate how they are doing against set goals. When need be, change the goals if they happen to be the wrong goals.
So what happens when the goals set are not met? Just keep on pushing.
See what Taylor has to say about it in Lesson 6.
Lesson 6: Deal with Cold-Shouldering
Like my girl Taylor says – You just gotta “shake it off.”
My wife wanted to home-school so bad. If we could have pulled if off financially, I probably would have let her have her way.
My little man is such a sweet soul and my daughter…well, she’s a girl, and women already have it tough enough in this crazy world of ours.
But, I’m teaching my kids to dust it off. Shake off the doubters, the haters, the bullies and keep on keeping on.
The ability to shake it off is one of many pivotal life lessons for kids.
There will be those who just can’t stand to see you thrive. Don’t ask me why, they’re just that way. Painfully, sometimes the naysayers are members of your so called “inner circle”.
I want my kids to be tender at heart, but with skin thick as leather. You identify the haters, and you shake ’em off like old dust.
Oh, and then you pray for them. Bless their heart!
Lesson 7: Bet The Farm (The Farm Being You)
The greatest battle ever fought is the battle of the mind. Talking about life lessons for kids, setting their minds on the right things is so important.
I’m teaching my kids to focus on God with a laser-beam intensity. Why that’s important is, once they have that trust, nothing can stop them.
Fact is, if you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t. If you think you’re beaten, you are. And if you think you can’t survive what you’re going through – you won’t.
It’s not what you’re going through, it’s what you’re going “to” that matters. Right back to those set goals.
I want my kids to trust in the Lord, and believe fully in themselves. “Bet the farm” on their own progresses, abilities, and God-given gifts.
If they find themselves in a fight – they should fight to win. My kids need to know, they are not who society says they are, they are not even what Mom and Dad say they are, they are who God says they are.
Ultimately, they will be who they wholeheartedly believe they are.
The greatest battle ever fought (and won), is the battle of the mind.
Lesson 8: Learn When To Say No
It is so easy to say “Yes.” Not so easy, however, when it comes to looking people in the eye and saying “No.”
Kids need to understand there comes a time when you just have to draw the line, put a smile on your face, and belt out a good “No.”
There will always be other humans looking to take advantage of them in school, in business, and in life in general. Regardless of how much we try to shelter the kids, it will happen to them.
I don’t want my wife and I to be parents who don’t teach these tough life skills. They are life skills for kids – all kids, to learn and understand.
I am teaching the kids to set boundaries, well in advance, and to not be shy about owning those boundaries. The closest people to you should know and fully understand your boundaries.
Newcomers are the ones that may need to be brought up to speed on the house rules.
It’s not always the “yes” in life that makes you a success. It’s also the things you pass up and say “no” to that define your overall success.
Lesson 9: Never Stop Learning
The moment the brain stops learning – it starts dying.
A bit graphic but holds a ton of truth. I want my kids to have an insatiable thirst for learning.
There are life lessons in children’s books, and life lessons quotes on toys, and moral lessons for kids even on Disney shows. I want my kids immersed in learning especially while having fun as kids.
Look at some of the most successful artists out there for instance. Those who have learned to evolve and change with the times; learned to maintain that staying power and just never seem to go away. Cher or Celine Dion come to mind, for instance.
On the flip side, artists who couldn’t hang with the times and constantly learn (or grow) seem to fade away unceremoniously.
One of the life lessons for kids to succeed is; learning subconsciously all through childhood. It just becomes part of who they are as adults.
Lesson 10: Find Out What You're Good At
We all have our very own unique abilities. The moment we figure out what that is – is when we truly start living (I believe).
My unique abilities center around numbers, remembering dates and names, talking with people in-person and in writing about topics I know a bit about.
I wouldn’t say my strong suit is doing the same in video, but hey, aren’t we all a work in progress!
So what do I do? I focus on what I am good at, continue to strive to be better at it, and work on “learning” in the areas I can improve.
I want my kids to find out quickly what it is they are good at and chase becoming excellent at their own unique abilities.
The kids need to know that while it is important to be well-rounded, it’s not prudent to be a jack of all trades. They just need to find out what their gifts are, then become insanely skilled at blessing the world and meeting a need with those skills/gifts.
What Can We Do As Parents to Influence Our Kids' Success?
There’s no secret sauce to leading your kids to success. Then again, what do I know? My kids are 4 and 5 and will be on the payroll for a loooong time to come.
If I may however, drop some parental lessons, there are a few boxes, if you are so blessed to do so, that you can check to help give kids just a little “success nudge.”
These check-able boxes are listed below….
Give The Kids Responsibility
Growing up, I got to take out the trash, do the dishes, do the laundry (100% by hand), and iron the clothes whenever we were fortunate to have electricity.
My own parents always ensured we are chored-up. I did not enjoy it one bit. None of us did (I have two siblings). But, it taught us the value of hard work and got us to appreciate better the results that come afterwards.
Work Hard At Being A Less-Stressed Parent
Research shows that happier, less stressed parents, are more likely to have happy children.
Children generally do not do as well when their parents or adult care-takers are not taking good care of themselves and their stress levels.
If you are constantly stressed as a parent, your children will unfortunately suffer from the same sooner than later.
Find The Best Neighborhood You Can Afford, And Move There
I wish in America this next point wasn’t still true – but it is.
One of the best moves we can make as parents for our kids is to find a neighborhood with the best schools and move there.
This often means greater expense as these are the communities where more affluent or comfortable families reside. If you can make it work, do it.
These communities generally mean more career opportunities are available, and your kids get the benefit of growing up with other kids who have the same ideals and values.
It’s actually been said that moving to a better neighborhood can have greater benefits than some extra-curricular activities.
Set The Bar High
There are kids raised in the projects currently enrolled at Harvard. Why not my kids?
Now, I’m not an unrealistic dad with a “Harvard or bust” mentality. I do believe in the power of research however.
UCLA researchers found that the expectations set by parents often have a direct correlation to their kids success in school.
I tell my kids almost everyday that they are going to college and I specifically mention Ivy League schools. The same UCLA researches found that parents who saw college in their child’s future seemed to manage their kid towards that goal.
Make The Kids Read Daily
Best-selling author, Thomas Curley, did a study of self-made millionaires.
In his study, he found that 63% of the self-made millionaires he looked into were brought up by their parents to read two or more books a month.
I don’t know about you, but that is astounding to me.
There are also so many life lessons in children’s books and things kids learn on their own as they begin to read.
As kids, these self-made millionaires were made to read history, non-fiction, biographies or books on hobbies. Most of them were also quizzed constantly about what they had read.
Introduce them To Math Early
Aside from daily reading, exposing your kids to math early in life can do wonders for them and their continued success in life.
According to Northwestern University researcher Greg Duncan, the single most important factor in predicting later academic achievement is that children begin school with a mastery of early math and literacy concepts.
The mastery of early math also predicts future reading achievement so both go hand in hand.
Teach The Kids Healthy Habits
Kids are sponges and they soak in everything we do around them as adults. It is important we lay a solid foundation of health.
For instance, you could actively promote playing outside versus sitting on the play-station all day. Encourage the kids to get plenty of sleep and definitely teach portion control and serve healthy, balanced meals.
Create Family Traditions
Children with strong kindergarten social skills thrive as adults.
One of the very best and fun ways to build social skills in kids to by installing family traditions or family rituals..
These do not have to be extravagant either. Most of us are working parents just trying to keep up with the whole parenting thing. I get it.
It could be simple things like Movie Mondays, or family board games, or Saturday evenings at the park. Setting time aside to also review all the “fun” things the family did during the week makes it stick for the kids.
Encourage A Growth Mindset
A growth mindset believes that talents can be developed and improved over time and skills learned with effort.
A fixed mindset, on the other hand, believes that talent and skill are inborn and cannot be altered.
Encouraging a growth mindset could reveal itself in the form of specifically praising the kids for hard work they did in their math quiz (growth), versus just saying to them “you are so smart and intelligent” (fixed).
Praising the kids for hard work and effort they put in to get results encourages a growth mindset.
Never Too Early To Start Investing
Introduce the kids at an early age to the power of compounding.
It’s never too early to start putting a little something aside for the kids and helping them understand numbers, investing, and the possibilities and doors that are opened up from investing.
Opening up a Fundrise account for the kids that grows with them may be a great way to give them a nice little gift at age 21.
Watching my two kids grow is nothing short of a blessing. So many people pray for the opportunity, so I would not dare take this blessing for granted.
I don’t have all the life lessons quotes to sound off, nor do I have a life skills list to hand my kids. I do have my own fair share of experiences that make up my life lessons for my kids manifesto.
I will no doubt share my successes and my big failures with my own kids and encourage you do the same.
Most importantly, I will be teaching them that whatever they do, they do it will all their hearts, unto the Lord, and not unto man.
Feel free to dive into the comments below and let me know if you have already, or will be incorporating any one of these life lessons to encourage the kids in your life to be the best successes they can be.