This is Miranda Marcus’ response to the question ‘What essential or practical skills should parents teach their children?‘ on Quora.
I want them to be able to think logically, to visualise the consequences of their decisions and learn how to adjust their actions to achieve the most optimal results.
I don’t want them to float through a life shaped by external influences accepted as immovable forces, doomed to have their spirit degraded by self-pity and unfulfilled potential. I want them to be self-driven. I want them to see obstacles as opportunities to change, not reasons to give up.
I want them to not only believe they can do anything they want, but to be able to envision all the steps needed to make it happen. I want them to chase their dreams, whatever those might be, with open eyes and careful planning.
I want my kids to never doubt their own self-worth. Sure I don’t want them to be egoists either, but even that is better than considering suicide because you don’t feel like a worthwhile use of space.
I want my kids to know that their own ideas and feelings are important and to defend those. I want them to be able to recognise emotional, mental, and physical abuse and have the confidence to not accept it.
Listen: Should we ban ‘a pinch and a punch’? (Post continues after audio…)
I don’t want them to feel undeserving of things they’ve worked to achieve.
A sense of wonder
I want them to be able to truly enjoy those small miracles that happen everyday.
The way the sun slants through the trees, the perfect bend of grass blown by a hot autumn breeze, the tingling feel of a captured bug, the night music of the frogs and the morning music of the birds.
The smell of new paper, the smooth glide of an ink pen, the taste of a freshly brushed mouth, the soft warmth of clothes just out of the dryer, the thrill of a new story.
To find joy in these simple things, perhaps that is the greatest gift of all.
I think if my kids had these three skills I would never have to worry if they knew how to change a tire or fix a drain or balance a check book. Because with critical thinking they could figure out a way, with healthy self-esteem they can avoid poor relationships both personally and professionally, and with a sense of wonder they can always find happiness.