Sometimes, immersed in the daily minutia of just keeping a
roof over our kids heads, keeping them fed and making sure that they get to the
soccer game in time, we parents forget the most important thing of all—we
are raising future adults.
Osmosis may be a thing, but only at a cellular level. We actually have to put in effort to ensure that, when they fly from our
nest, they can swiftly navigate through their independent life as a totally awesome adults.
I'm not talking about the moral biggies like 10 commandment-level rules about not murdering and doing unto others. I'm talking about seemingly little things: habits, behaviors and traits that, if instilled early on, can lead to the coveted
"awesome" tag applied to your grown child. Plus? They'll be happier.
Beyond rearing a moral, honest and
honorable person, here are 10 tips to sending out into the world a really amazing human
1. Teach them to have one great meal prep under their belt
You should pass on at least one simple and palatable recipe to your child. A
family favorite is always good, so that when they prepare it for dear friends
or a potential partner, they can say, "Oh, this is my mother's recipe," with
pride. In a pinch, at least be sure they can make pancakes.
2. Teach them to hold the door
When exiting an office or a corner market, with someone following close behind,
teach them the courtesy of holding the door open for the next person behind. It's a simple kindness, one that strangers always appreciate. Teach daughters as well as sons. Teach them to hold it open for both men and women.
3. Teach them to use the turn signal when driving
Nothing can be more aggravating than someone not signaling for a lane change or a left turn. Drivers cant read minds. There's no way to psychically know that the person in front of you is about to
make a turn. When you, or someone else, gives your kid lessons behind the wheel,
make sure to remind them of this, for everyone's sake (especially my husband's,
he can't stand it when people don't signal). Signaling intentions is helps society function more smoothly—on the road and for other things in life.
Almost any sort of non-work pastime will do.
4. Teach them to always replace the toilet roll
Nothing is worse than finishing up on the toilet, looking to the dispenser and
seeing an empty roll. Teach your children early to get in the habit of replacing the
roll if they've used it all.
5. Teach them a strong handshake and eye contact
By the time our children are adults, the standard handshake may be replaced
with a fist bump or the touching of elbows (to keep the transfer of germs at a
minimum). But just in case the tradition of handshakes is still de rigueur, make sure your offspring has a strong one. No one wants to receive a limp
handshake. No one wants to be judged for having a weak one. Also, make sure your kid understands the importance of eye contact,
regardless of how the greetings are made.
6. Teach them to pursue their interests, even as a hobby, even if it's eclectic
While most of us share the language of pop culture from hit songs to TV shows, having a unique hobby or interest will give your child that edge of being "interesting." Maybe they collect stamps or like to spin their own yarn for knitting. Or maybe they get a thrill from skydiving. Almost any sort of non-work pastime will do.
Bonus points if they take into consideration the person's likes and dislikes.
7. Teach them to always write Thank You notes
From a young age, you should encourage, nay, force, your
child to write Thank You notes. Not in an email form or a text message, but an
actual paper card with writing on it that's sent through the mail. This is
something that they should carry through their lifetime.
8. Always have a recommendation at the ready
When the topic of books, movies, TV shows or restaurants comes
up, and a friend or colleague is looking for a suggestion, instill in your child the confidence in their choices to make recommendations with a
sense of authority and passion. Bonus points if they take into consideration the
person's likes and dislikes.
9. Know how to play a song or do portrait
Being able to sit down at the piano and play a song (that's not "Chopsticks") at a moment's notice is a wonderful skill to have. It doesn't
have to be a song on the piano—it could be the guitar or the bongos. If your
child didn't grow up with a talent for music, then having practice another
skill, such as drawing portraits of recognizable characters, also comes in handy.
Last but not least, instill in them the habit of calling their mother or other significant parent figure. Not
because they feel they need to, but rather because they want to. As J.K.
Simmons said in his 2015 Oscar speech, "Call your mom, call your dad. If you're
lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call 'em. Don't
text. Don't email. Call them on the phone. Tell 'em you love 'em, and thank
them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you."