Thursday, December 6, 2007

What Parents Should Teach Every Child (and Each Other)

1. All Life is Precious. This includes all God's creatures and the unborn. Random death and violence, even if fictitious, should be disturbing and horrifying, not entertaining.

2. Human Dignity Is NOT Optional. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, especially the old, the handicapped, the poor, and the unattractive.

3. Evil Triumphs When Good Men Do Nothing. Stand up for what you know to be right, whether it is popular or not. If you see someone being mistreated, intervene for them. Don't be afraid to get involved.

4. Respect the Earth and Conserve It's Resources. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Don't leave your trash for someone else to clean up. Don't waste water, paper, electricity, or fuel. If we waste our resources now, wars will be fought over what little is left.

5. Live Within Your Means. Some of the happiest people on earth are those who live simply. Save for the things you want, the sacrifice made for them will make them all the more precious to you. Keeping up with the Joneses will only make you a slave to your appetite for 'more, bigger, better.' Remember, even if you catch up with one Jones family, another will come along to raise the bar.

6. Work Hard, but Don't Live to Work. Give an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. There is nothing wrong with ambition, but don't sacrifice your integrity, sanity, or loved ones in the pursuit.

7. Live in the Present, Plan for the Future, Leave the Past Behind. Create your happiness in the here and now, but set goals and dreams for the future.  View past mistakes as lessons learned, leave them in the past where they belong.  You're character is what you are today, not what you were yesterday.

8. Live With Integrity. Never compromise your knowledge of right and wrong. Teach it. Live it. What is right is not always what is easy, but the more you practice it, the easier it becomes.

9. Be Kind to Yourself and Others. Practice compassion. Forgive yourself for mistakes. Forgive others for mistakes. No one is perfect and no one should expect perfection. Learn the difference between mistakes made from ignorance and bad behaviour by choice. And learn to admit and correct mistakes when they are made. Also remember that a kind word or smile may bring someone up from the depths of despair, and a cruel one can push someone over the edge.

10. Argue With an Open Mind. If your ideas and opinions are in conflict with another... ask questions. Learn why they feel the way they do. Name calling and stubbornness only perpetuate misunderstandings and your own ignorance.

11. Take Care of Your Health. Teach your child the importance of eating a healthy diet and getting the right amount of exercise. Set an example by making healthy choices for yourself and your family. Cook healthy meals, keep junk food consumption in moderation, and exercise with them by taking walks, playing catch, skating together, bicycling, whatever. Not only will your family be healtheir, they'll benefit from the quality time together.

12. Have a Sense of Humor. Don't take yourself too seriously. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself, it will make your days brighter.

13. Live Honestly, Love Passionately, Learn Humbly.

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