Academics are important. One of the reasons we send our kids to school is to connect them with professional teachers who will help them acquire the knowledge and skills they’ll need in life. But that isn’t the only reason.
In a perfect world, parents and teachers would be partners in educating both the minds and the hearts of our kids. But too many parents aren’t involved, and too many teachers fail to understand the importance of educating the ♥ heart ♥. What does it mean to educate the heart? It means to help a young person develop good character, which is far more important in life than his or her academic record.
I think just about everyone would agree that the key to a good life is making good choices. We need to teach kids that nature’s greatest gift to us is a free will – the ability, and the power, and the freedom to make choices. Granted, parents make a lot of choices for their children when they’re very young, as they should. But as those children get older, they need help in understanding the importance of using their own power of choice.
Here are 7 choices that determine the quality of life. Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, or in any other position, you make them every day. So, eventually, will our kids.
Attitude – We are free to choose our attitude, no matter what the circumstance. Don’t ask, “Why did this happen to me?” Ask instead, “Now that this has happened, what’s the best way to deal with it?”
Kindness – We choose how we treat other people. And how we treat them reveals our real selves. Kindness is a choice, and it’s much more than just being “nice.” It includes humility (I’m not the most important person in the world), empathy (being able to put ourselves in another person’s position), and compassion (caring about other people and helping them when they need it).
Work – We choose every day how much effort we put into our obligations and relationships. “There’s no substitute for hard work” – Chapter 9 in Life’s Greatest Lessons. Want to achieve something with your life? Develop grit – good work habits.
Honesty – Trust is the rock solid foundation of all good relationships – marriage, friendship, education, business, sports, or anything else. There can be no trust without honesty. There can be no wholeness (the meaning of integrity) without honesty. Want respect and a good reputation? Be honest. “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom” – Thomas Jefferson.
Mind – “You are what you are because of what goes into your mind” – Zig Ziglar. Who/what puts things into our minds? Family, friends, school, place of worship, organizations, teams, TV, music, movies, videos, video games, the Internet, social media, magazines, books, and the list goes on. We choose daily what goes into our minds. It can be toxic or it can be nourishing. It can help us or it can hurt us.
Body – Two choices we make every day regarding our body: 1) What goes into it (toxic or nourishing?), 2) What we do with it, as in moving it – called exercise. Your body isn’t the most important thing about you, but it’s the vehicle that carries what is the most important. It will serve you better if it’s treated with care.
Money – Like it or not, it’s a resource we can’t do without. And we make choices about it every day. Our kids need to be taught two important things about money: 1) to save regularly (the earlier, the better), and 2) to spend wisely.
- Dr. Hal Urban
How are you helping your kids with these choices? We'd love to hear your stories so you can inspire other rockstar moms, dads and educators like yourself. Share your story on the Kindness U Facebook page, or email us directly if you would like us to share it for you!
Wanna hang out more with the amazing Dr. Hal Urban? Then get on over here: halurban.com.