So I have been thinking that if I could teach my kids one thing it would probably be that love always makes things better. That sounds super lame, but stay with me…
The opposite of loving yourself, other people, your pets, your life, the things you own, the things you do, and everything else, does not sound like a happy life.
So how do you teach kids to love?
(intermission – my wife wanted to talk to me last night while I was writing this…so I did and I had a much better evening with my wife than I would have had with my laptop. Things are always better with love!)
So where was I? How do you teach love? Can it be taught? What do you teach? I assume traits such as valuing, caring , and respecting are all traits that can be taught, but how do you go about teaching them?
I think by just loving my kids I will show them what it feels like to be loved. And by loving my wife, family and friends I will demonstrate how to love others.
By caring for my possessions I will demonstrate how to respect and value the things I own. I may need to do some work on this one as I have not washed my car in ages and my room has not been clean for the last 20 years!
As for “things I do” that could be a bit tricky. Like most people I tend to vent about work. Now I know that it is not meant to be all singing and dancing, unless you are a professional singer and dancer, but it is hard to love working. It has been said many times that if you work at something you love then you will never work a day in your life, but I think that is just silly. If “Work” wasn’t work it would be called “Fun.” If you can gain an income from “fun” then you are very fortunate. In reality I think most of us have to work. So maybe I need to change my focus. Instead of venting maybe I could come home and highlight the successes. “Today I wrote 50 emails and reviewed two documents!”
I also think it is good at the end of the day to recap and highlight the good parts, such as “Wasn’t if fun to go and play in the park today!”
I have encouraged my boy to care for his toys by saying “Please play gently. If you throw them they might break, and if they break you will be sad.” This has sometimes be shortened to “if you throw them they might break” and then to “don’t throw them.” I hope he will understand that such directions come from love.
I also encourage the use of manners such as “Please” and “Thankyou” as I think this is a sign of respect. My boy has also learnt that if he says “peese” he is much more likely to get a second biscuit.
Sharing is another attribute I have been encouraging, which is a little bit tricky for a two-year old. The other night we had hot chips as a treat. When he saw that I had run out of chips, he toddled over and gave me a chip from his own bowl. Love!