I believe the greatest lesson we can teach a child is self-esteem. Yes, if you could only teach them one thing, I believe teaching them their self-worth and self-esteem is the greatest objective parents should have.
Of course there are all kinds of other lessons like, be safe, think it through, choose your friends wisely, learn how to walk away and say no and the list could go on for 20 pages. We have all heard of parents that tell their children that they are worthless, lazy, not pretty and not smart and that they will never amount to anything. I believe there is a special place in hell for these type parents.
I was with my two granddaughters yesterday and they are like little sponges and they believe you and the trust what you say. My little granddaughters just like my grown daughters are frequently told that they are loved and that they are wonderfully made and a gift from God and that they will grow up to be fine women and tremendous leaders. I am sure there were things I didn’t teach my daughters but one thing is for sure. They never had to wonder if their daddy loved them and if he would protect them. I would have laid my life down in a heartbeat and still would to this day to save my babies.
When you interact with children, even if they are not your children, let them know that what they say is important and respected. Show them the respect and the example of how to act around them.
My daughters have never looked at themselves as being better than others. They treated other people the way they want to be treated.
A short story about both of my daughters.
My oldest daughter when she was in the first or second grade had a friend in school that she knew was in need. Even as young as she was, she knew. That Christmas she wanted to buy the little some clothes and we of course did and she wrapped the gifts and we took her to the little girl’s house so she could give the little girl her present. I watched my baby girl sit down with the little girl as she opened her present and as the little girl’s parents watched. She spoke so kind and so innocent to her friend. I cannot tell you in words how I had to hold back from crying while watching my little girl show love to her friend. The ride back home was really quiet because I couldn’t talk.
My youngest daughter was in high school and was dating this boy and they were with some friends and were eating at a Steak and Shake and this little black girl about 9 years old came to the table asking for money for a bus fare. The kids she was with kind of made fun of the little girl in front of my daughter. My daughter bowed her back up and treated the little girl with kindness and didn’t care what her friends thought. When she got home a little later she was crying and then told me what happened. She said daddy, we have to go find the little girl and help her. 5 minutes later we were in the car heading back to find the little girl. We unable to find her but it was our hope that she got on the bus and got home safe. As a daddy I watched my baby girl show love for someone else’s little girl and again, it was all I could do not to cry on the way home. That ride back home was also quiet because I couldn’t talk.
Children learn how to love and trust by their home life and they learn self-esteem by how they are loved.
Showing love and respect to a child teaches them self-worth and self-esteem and it will be ingrained in their personality for the rest of their lives. Never underestimate the impressions you are making to your children and the children around you. KT