Raising Genuine, Honest & Resilient Kids
It was the start of a new week after a wonderful weekend with my family. I just dropped off my children at school and ready to get the work week started. And then, what began as a regular Monday was suddenly engulfed by that sinking feeling in your stomach of stress, frustration, disappointment and bewilderment. Bad news on the work front - someone you trusted solicits your contacts to provide competing services.
My first reaction was a flurry of irrational texts I sent to my husband. Then another 30 minutes of ranting to him about the situation. After 30 minutes, he called me out on my behavior.
- What am I seeking to accomplish right now?
- How much time have I already wasted on this instead of focusing on growing my business?
He put me on the right track - to focus on actionable items that will help grow my business, instead of the negative distractions. However, for the next few days (ugh - a waste of time and energy!), I had this nagging and unsettling feeling in my stomach. I reached out to friends and business confidants about what to do. Should I confront her? Should I take legal action? What will the backlash be in the community? How will this affect my business?
But through all the emotional confusion, I did find clarity in one area. I knew that there were some fundamental moral values that I needed to teach my children. Principles that I believe are crucial to being genuine, kind-hearted, and resilient.
Act with Integrity
Your integrity defines who you are. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of integrity is "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles." If you don't have your integrity, who are you then? I want my kids to have strong values and be honest. If someday they face an incredible opportunity that can gain them great success but at the cost of their integrity, I hope they will run the other direction.
Treat Others with Respect
It seems simple, but easily overlooked. We need to treat others the way we want others to treat us. Respect is something we can teach our kids at a young age. Be intentional about your actions - children learn the most by watching the adults in their lives. It could be something as simple as saying thank you or holding the door for someone. We often think we need some big action to make an impact, but in reality, it is the small things that count.
Be Mindful of Your Actions
Mindfulness is "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment." I definitely did not practice mindfulness in the present moment when I realized the situation. But fortunately, I had an understanding outlet in my husband. In life, we will always be facing situations that are uncomfortable, frustrating and overwhelming. We need to teach our children that in the present moment, don't let your emotions blindly determine your actions. Assess the situation and be mindful of your feelings and then react with a rational, thoughtful way.
Don't Let Your Failures Define You
It is often too easy to take difficult situations and let that determine your future course of action. The "woe is me" and "nothing ever goes my way" attitude. It is through our failures that we learn and grow. With our children, we need to let them fail once in awhile. If they never do, how will they learn to face difficult situations? The greatest lessons in life are how they handle failure and what they do next -- do they give up or do they find a way to succeed.
This goes hand in hand with not letting your failures define you. See adverse times as challenges instead of setbacks. As an entrepreneur, I hear this all the time - "If being an entrepreneur was easy, everybody would be doing it.". Success never comes easy. It takes discipline and hard work. We often tell our kids, Shefferts never say the word "can't." If we want something, we will find a way. We want our children to be resilient and persistent. Don't let challenging situations prevent them from achieving their goals.
Admit Your Mistakes
It is never easy to admit that you are wrong. However, when you do, it shows leadership, character, and integrity. "Strong people make as many mistakes as weak people. The difference is that strong people admit their mistakes, laugh at them, learn from them. That is how they become strong" Richard J. Needham. We want our kids to know that it is okay to make mistakes, but the real lesson is learning from it to avoid the make the same mistake again.
Acting with integrity, being mindful of your actions, not letting failures define you, embracing challenges and admitting mistakes are just a few lessons I've learned in business that I want to instill in my kids. I would love to hear from you what are some valuable lessons that you would like your children to learn from your experiences?