What Life Lessons Should You Leave For Your Kids?
Published: November 7, 2015
Sometimes life can feel like an endless series of tests. Big. Small. Mental. Emotional. Physical. There is always something that will challenge us. But those tests are what inspire us to learn and grow. Our kids can benefit tremendously from our experiences.
These daily tests give us the opportunity to learn something new, or reinforce what we have already figured out. We can choose to put ourselves in these learning situations, or they can be thrust upon us whether we like it or not. Either way, they are going to happen.
One of the benefits of age and experience is that we can put new experiences into context. We have a base of knowledge that we can draw upon. This context is something that a young person just doesn’t have, no matter how smart and aware they may be. There is no substitute for having lived through life.
Most daily life lessons are small - those little incremental bits of knowledge that build on our foundation and help us get better at navigating life.
But sometimes we are knocked on our butts by a lesson that really makes us stop and think.
Maybe it was something outside your control and you had to find the strength and resources to deal with it. Or, perhaps, you made some bad choices and were the cause of the problem. How did you manage that difficult situation? Could someone else benefit from what you learned?
Sharing our knowledge.
There is tremendous value in giving someone else, particularly children, the benefit of what you have experienced and learned. Sharing and learning is how individuals and cultures advance and get better.
We do our best as adults to pass on what we have learned to our children to help them develop and grow. For your kids, sharing what you know can provide a framework and key points for them to think about and watch for. And it will give them a heads-up on what they will likely need to deal with later in life.
Often, despite our best efforts, our great advice gets ignored. People need to live life for themselves for it to be truly internalized and understood. It’s similar to learning fractions in school. Just reading about it doesn’t help. You need to do the math to get it.
However, when they are faced with a choice in life, your words can help them make that right decision. Or, at the very least, once they learn the lesson for themselves, then they can compare their experiences with yours. Combining their experience with yours can be a powerful learning opportunity. Perhaps their life will make a little more sense.
The benefits of writing it down.
We can, and should, talk to our kids about what we have learned through success and failure. But sometimes they are too young, or not interested in listening, or circumstances mean you are separated from each other.
If you can’t talk about it, then write it down for them. Even if you are able to have these meaningful conversations, there is tremendous value in documenting it. The benefits of writing are well known. Writing focuses your energy and let’s you fully explore the topic.
One powerful aspect of the lessons you write down and leave for them is that, as they get older, their perspective on life and awareness will change. Your words now might mean something very different compared to when they are older. This is one of the values of having a permanent record that they can use their entire life.
We happen to think that a secure, online capsule is the best way to this. Regardless, we believe there is great value in putting down in words what you want them to know.
Or, perhaps writing is not something you are interested in. In that case, a video, or a number of short videos, is a fantastic alternative. You can leave personal video messages for each of your children. Personal messages let you concentrate on only them and the lessons that they might need.
Some ideas for life lessons to leave for kids.
If you are stuck for ideas, these might be a good starting point. We are quite sure you will have lots of your own ideas too.
- relationships with family
- being in love
- how to relate to other people
- the importance of friends
- the good, bad and ugly of being a parent
- the importance of the right education
- personal achievement
- dealing with failure and success
- what I learned about marriage
- the reality of work
- money - making, saving and investing it
- being charitable
- faith and religion
User tip: To organize multiple files or messages in a capsule, perhaps related to a theme or particular event, you can use same description in the “Title” when you upload files. That way it will be easy for the capsule recipient to know which files (such as messages, videos, photos and so on) belong together.
There is so much we can pass on to our kids, and sometimes we just don’t have the opportunity to have the conversation. And are they really going to listen anyway?
Writing it down can capture those little and big lessons you have learned along the way. It gives insight into our lives and it’s an opportunity for us to help them, even if we are no longer here.
If you have a comment, we would love to hear from you.