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Note: This is a guest post by David B. Bohl of SlowdownFAST.
Children are like little sponges. Without us even realizing it, they soak up every last thing we say and do. Much to our chagrin, they usually disclose the most embarrassing or intimate details to total strangers, at the most inappropriate moments. They seem to just have a natural gift for it.
If we pay attention to what our children say to us, though, we realize just how much they pay attention to us. They look to us to set the example, to be their guidance, and to teach them right from wrong. They want us to establish boundaries for them, and they learn from us how to behave, and how to treat others.
As we go about our busy lives it is important to ask ourselves what kind of example we are setting for our children. What we do and say shapes the people they will become, so we need to stop for a moment and take into account what kind of future adults we are creating.
The push to create work life balance has been gaining momentum. It is important to maintain this balance for the emotional well being of your children, as well as for yourself.
1. Take Time to Play.
Playing is a good thing. As responsible adults, we forget how to laugh and be silly, and our children teach us important lessons in enjoying life and cherishing simple pleasures.
Take the time to run, giggle, tickle, and be goofy. Put your adult self away for a while and allow your inner child to come out and play. You will develop a bond with your own child in a way that nothing else can accomplish. You will be building memories that both of you can cherish for a lifetime, and you will be tending your relationship with your child so that it remains healthy.
Playing also nurtures your own well being. It reaffirms your work life balance is being maintained, and allows your mind freedom from its daily chains to the working world. After all, how serious can you be when you are rolling around on the grass, being taken advantage of by a four-year-old in the world’s greatest tickle fight?
2. Be Kind to Others.
Our children look to us to set the example in learning how to deal with others. You are directly responsible for teaching them manners, gratitude, acceptance, friendship, and a whole host of other behaviors that will determine their future success, both in the working world and in personal relationships.
Make sure you are teaching them habits that will serve them well as you interact with other people in your life. Telling your child to treat people a certain way does not carry nearly the same weight as demonstrating it.
3. Keep a Positive Outlook.
Your own mental outlook on life will carry over to your child’s. If you view life as fraught with insurmountable challenges, bad luck, and impossible goals, that is likely how your child will grow to view life.
Why not start him out with a mindset that will lead him to success by teaching him to be positive, optimistic, and hopeful. Teach him that life is full of wonderful possibilities waiting to be explored, and that he can achieve anything as long as he believes in himself. Do this by practicing it yourself, and you will both experience tremendous fulfillment.
As we travel through life with our children, we become responsible for so much more than our own happiness and success. Our actions not only affect our childrens’ lives right now, but will directly affect the outcome of their lives many years from now. Our children are our legacy, and what we leave behind when our turn here is done is precious.
Set the stage for their success, and leave a living legacy behind that you can be proud of. Invest in your children now, and every single day for the rest of your life. You will reap rewards in terms of a more satisfying life, and you will develop deeper bonds with your children. You will build a relationship that will sustain you both throughout the remainder of your days, and when you look back on your life, you will have no regrets.
David B. Bohl writes about living your vision at his own blog: SlowdownFAST. If you enjoyed this article, you may like to subscribe to his feed, or read one of his most popular articles, Conflicting Desires: Knowing That We Have Enough vs. Always Wanting to Better Ourselves.
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