Someone once said that childhood is the university of life. If that is the case, then parenthood is the costly tuition. Any parent knows that parenting can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences in all of life. But with all the things that parents need to do to “get it right”, how in the world can a parent ever do enough or give their child full instruction to be prepared for this unpredictable thing called life?
One of the simplest ways I’ve learned to make your parenting job easier is to teach life lessons to your children through the everyday circumstances all around them. Rather than parents feeling overwhelmed by all the things they want to teach their children in the fleeting parenting years, it’s often easier than many parents think. Whether it’s an event, a tragedy, or just a movie, life is full of teachable moments if we’ll look for them – timely opportunities to use as stepping stones into important conversations about life-lessons. Here are a few important ones to consider the next time they happen.
Nothing speaks to the value of each and every person like coming face to face with the realities of life and death. Even for children, if dealt with wisely, death and loss can be a positive learning experience that sets them up for a lifetime of successfully dealing with grief.
Because marriage is a sacred union meant to be a life-long commitment, a wedding is a beautiful way to remind kids of the importance of not only the institution of marriage but many other life lessons. So many important lessons could be discussed from a wedding including the value of choices, love, commitment, purity, promises, etc. 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.
Tragedies open wide a door of conversation for us as parents.When pain and suffering hit close to home, whether it be in your family, your community, or simply in the news, it is a teachable moment to help your children understand 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 things that are completely out of our control.
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 life lessons your child will ever learn are from their mistakes, some of which you need to allow them to make.
TV & movies
My boys love Spider-Man; and we recently went and watched the movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Not only was it a fun time together, but we were able to have some good discussion about the movie after it was over. Movies make for great discussions starters and are an easy way to help your children identify both good and evil, as well as people’s motives and struggles. Just start by asking questions. There are always tons of practical and moral life lessons to be learned from most movies.
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 to teach 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?”