Someone once said that childhood is the university of life. If that is the case, then parenthood is the costly tuition. Any parent knows parenting can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences. But with all the things parents need to do to “get it right,” how in the world can a parent ever do enough or give a child full instruction to be prepared for this unpredictable thing called life?
A simple way to make your job easier is by teaching life lessons to your children in everyday circumstances. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by all the things to teach children in the fleeting parenting years, it’s easier than we think. Whether it’s an event, a tragedy, or just a movie, life is full of teachable moments. There are timely opportunities to use as stepping stones into teaching life lessons. Here are 6 important ones to consider the next time they happen.
1. A Funeral
The realities of life and death give us a chance to discuss the value of each person. Even for children, death and loss can be a positive learning experience if dealt with wisely. It will set them up for a lifetime of successfully dealing with grief.
2. A Wedding
Marriage is a sacred union meant to be a lifelong commitment. A wedding is a beautiful way to remind kids of the importance of the institution of marriage and to teach many other life lessons. So many important lessons could be discussed from a wedding including the value of choices, love, commitment, purity, promises… In addition, it’s a great way to discuss what it takes to make a marriage last for life and the reasons why some marriages don’t.
3. A TragedyTragedies open wide a door of conversation for us as parents.
When pain and suffering hit close to home, it’s an opportunity for teaching life lessons to help your children. We can teach them how to respond and how to help those who are directly affected. Whether it’s a school shooting, a natural disaster, an unexpected death, or the life-changing negative effects of someone’s choices, tragedies open wide a door of conversation for us as parents. So rather than just sweeping them under the rug as something that just “happened again,” use them to discuss the realities of people’s choices or, sometimes, of things that are completely out of our control.
4. School Situations
Few things are harder in life than what a kid experiences at school, but school is a training ground for life success. Whether your child struggles with friendship, an authority figure, the difficulty of their work, or something else, what happens at school provides us as parents with an innumerable amount of teachable opportunities to develop character in our children.
Teach your children that failure is a part of life. But failure is never final unless you choose for it to be. Some of the greatest lessons your child will learn will be from their mistakes.
6. TV and Movies
My boys love Spider-Man. Several years ago we saw, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. We were able to have a good discussion about the movie after it was over. Movies and TV shows are great for teaching life lessons. It’s easy to use them to help your children identify both good and evil as well as people’s motives and struggles. Just start by asking questions. Most movies have practical and moral lessons to learn.
These are just a few ideas, but there are so many more. The world is full of life lessons all around us every day. As wise parents, we would do well not to overlook these opportunities but to take advantage of them.
Sound off: What other life events come to mind that you could use for teaching life lessons?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some things you can learn from what is going on in your life right now?”