Some parents might have a hard time with the concept of owe. They feel that by using the word “owe,” it has the potential to bring with it expectations and obligations. They contemplate that no one wants to feel obligated nor do they want the added pressure of their children expecting too much. However, the reality is; that it the right of your child to expect and deserve the very best in what you have to give.
Most children see themselves as a mini extension of their parents. If you expect the best in yourself, then they will strive to achieve the best in themselves. Words are symbols that mean something. By obligating yourself to the word, owe you are committing to giving to your child all that you are, and will be, forever.
Wanting the best doesn’t mean that when your child graduates from high school you go into debt buying him/her a Porsche. It doesn’t mean that your child comes to you with a list of demands in order to make life less complicated. It’s simply a method in which you pledge to make a conscious effort to the protection, well being and stability of yourself and your family.
Because words are symbols used to direct our mind’s focus, we want to put into our consciousness the strongest symbols possible. Owe conjures up a strong characterization. It’s an implication that there’s an unpaid balance that you share with your kids. It’s a balance that’s always outstanding, sometimes overdrawn, at any moment frustrating, but never depleted. It’s something you continue to graciously pay, even if from afar, knowing that its positive influence is the greatest reward.
There’s an old saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Whoever created that statement must have never been constantly called anything derogatory. Words are very powerful and often can cause drastic emotional injury to a child’s fragile self esteem. That’s why parents have an obligation to choose words and phrases that will be beneficial to the healthy development of their children’s blossoming self image.
Most responsible parents would never intentionally degrade their children. In spite of that, even asking questions like; “What’s wrong with you?” “Are you out of your mind?” Or “Why are you making a mountain out of a mole hill?” can be emotionally damaging and cause serious psychological injury to a small child’s fragile ego. Along those same lines phrases like; “You are driving me crazy!” “You are getting on my last nerves,” (How many times have you heard that?!) “I’m about to knock you into the middle of next week,” as well as, “You make me sick!” are also emotionally damaging and should be avoided.
Building self esteem means never being insulting, negative, swearing at, or calling disparaging names. It means to never be overly critical, find ways of encouragement and opportunities to uplift your children’s spirits in every circumstance.
Keep in mind that damaging a child’s self esteem takes years of aggression, so don’t beat yourself up for the occasional slip up. That’s normal. As long as you remember that words hurt and that caution and caring are necessary in order to raise positive self assured human beings.
Children have no concept of time although it is one of the most valuable commodities of life. They may, on some level, grasp that it last forever, but somehow they often inadequately equate it to themselves. As adults, we realize that time is important, it must be respected, and that we must make use of every moment we have for as long as we have it.
We don’t have long on this Earth to contribute to our well being and solidify our purpose. However, while we are here, it is our obligation to use our time wisely and focus on our goals. Parents need to teach their kids that they are not invulnerable and they won’t live forever. Therefore it is important to maximize all the time they have towards developing their talents and striving for their goals.
Many parents have a myriad of ways of surviving in this drastic economy. Often they are too tired to spend time with their kids after work. Remember, your children are your first priority and it is your responsibility to muster up the energy and spend precious moments nurturing them. They’ll understand that you’re tired. They’ll also subconsciously understand how important they are to you and how you’ve prioritized their needs over your own.
Time is about making every effort to be at parent conferences, football games, recitals, Science Fairs, Boys and Girls Scout meetings, speeches, birthdays and anything else that reflects your child’s development. If you don’t take the time to show them how important they are in your life, then they will grow up thinking life is not important.
Time is also essential in the morning. Kids need a healthy start. That means a good breakfast to start their day. This is very difficult for most families because of varying schedules. However, maybe a Monday, Wednesday, Friday commitment where the family gets up and eats breakfast together is fathomable. Maybe two days out the week like Monday and Friday. That gives kids something to look forward to. It also starts and ends their school week.
It is eminently important for parents to attend the social events of their children. Children need to feel supported. It is part of the unpaid balance you owe. Your presence should be felt in all aspect of their lives and when you make them a main concern they’re going to be compelled to believe in you and have faith and trust that you have their best interest at heart.
Vacations leave lasting impressions and are often remembered for a lifetime. Try to take at least one family vacation a year, preferably one that involves the outdoors. When children are outdoors, nature’s delicate balance has a serene effect on them.
Being one with nature is also extremely settling. Nature and all its enduring principles leaves a positive impression about the structure of life. It reminds us that we are all connected to an infinite structure that’s always changing and growing, but never ceasing to discard any of its parts. It’s constantly replenishing and regenerating. Therefore it’s imperative that kids experience this phenomenon first hand and get a semblance of their place in the beautiful cycle of life.
Vacations don’t have to involve a lot of money. Take a one or two day hiking or desert trip. Spend an entire day at the beach complete with a picnic lunch and dinner as well as plenty of games and other things to do. The most important thing is that you spend quality time with your children outside the home and away from the hustle and bustle of life.
Spirituality is a vital extension of our human experience. Without spirituality there’s a complex void in one’s outlook and expression of existence. Children need to be taught that there’s a greater force other than themselves and you. (Yes, I said, “You!”) This doesn’t mean that you have to go to church every Saturday or Sunday, but it does mean that your family should have a habit or be taught a ritual of giving thanks to a greater power. The good it causes to believe and have faith in a higher power far outweighs the bad. It can create is a strong moral character and a belief that you are held accountable to something more significant than you.
My grandmother once said, “The person that said money isn’t everything, never had any.” Money is very important in the way we configurate our society. It may not make you happy, but it will sure make you more financially secure. On that note, teach your kids about Certificate of Deposits, Mutual Funds, Savings Bonds, and Real Estate. If these are areas you are unfamiliar; then learn about them. (Libraries are free resources, so there’s no excuse.)
It’s imperative that children have a proper respect for money and its worth. Money is power. It does plenty to aid in the comforts of life and children need to understand its necessity in order to function properly in this society. It must be understood, saved, invested and spent wisely.
An effective way of building proper respect for money is by giving children an allowance and by opening their first savings account. This is a way of showing them the importance of saving for things they want or need. It gets them away from the notion of instant gratification and aids in the understanding of patience and self reliance. It’s going to take a long time to save for those sneakers that cost $125 if you’re only putting away $5 a week. Yet once attained, they’ll have a better comprehension for budgeting as well as and appreciation for the items they purchased on their own. (You better believe if they spent their own money, they’re going to value the product more.)
Make sure the examples you teach your children regarding money are beneficial. This means making an effort to keep you own finances in tact. (I know that’s hard in this current economy!) Try not to let your telephone get cut off. Don’t have your child doing their homework to candle light because you didn’t pay the light bill and, by all means, try to avoid your child going to bed hungry because there was no budget for food.
Some of the previous issues may be unavoidable. On the other hand, try as best you can to set a strong foundation and some of those issues may become escapable or at the very least, short termed.
Just like money, credit is another area where children need to have a proper understanding and respect; especially before they go off to college. Credit card companies prey on unsuspecting college students and if they aren’t knowledgeable they will graduate owing much more than school loans.
Credit is an important asset. Not only can it be used to buy things of importance like an education, home or car, it can create financial independence. There may be emergencies that arise where credit may play a significant role. Therefore, it must be protected and taken seriously at all times; especially in communities of color.
Find opportunities where your family can be of community service. Whether it’s beautifying your neighborhood or volunteering at a homeless shelter, find the opportunities to give back the blessings that are bestowed upon you. Charitable contributions are meaningful, satisfying and rewarding to everyone involved. It rears unselfishness and a compassionate disposition in kids.
There’s a biblical saying that states, “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.” People who are unselfish have an increased fulfillment of life because they are making others happy. These types of people realize that what they do has a greater effect on everyone around them. If you want happiness in your life, you have to give happiness to others. Charity is reciprocal.
Whatever it is that you want out of life, you have to give. If you want to live large, you have to give large. It’s the law of the universe. The most important thing is to be humble to the process and to point out when it is being applied so that your children learn to appreciate its grace and beauty.
Those are the 8 core principles that every parent owes their children. They are non negotiable and essential in developing young people of character. They are however, not the only principles, so if you feel I’ve left one out, leave it in the comment section of this post.
As always, thanks for reading and spending some time with my artistry.