‘It is a baby Boy’ – my mother told me 9+ yrs back on phone. I was in Mumbai then & I just jumped ran to catch the next flight home (Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh). It was 50 parts joy & 50 parts fear of the unknown (Because like with my new phone; I did not get an instructions manual along with the child).
I have been a parent for the almost 10 years now. Nothing & no one can prepare you for an awesome parenthood. There are no courses. Only lessons learned from your own mistakes. No one else’s.
Here are 10 Inspiring Things that Successful Parents do for their kids. This is all what I saw while traveling around (My Work in Pictures) & hearing hundreds of parents & kids:-
1. They choose to be comfortable themselves.
They let the grace of their own ‘comfort in their own skins’ do all the talking for them. Kids are surprisingly unclouded in their observation and perception (because of the lack of complicated reception filters). And they catch any pretentiousness by the parents equally well.
Successful parents teach their kids the true meaning of comfort, by being true to themselves. One way they achieve this is by parenting for the child only & not parenting to impress an audience e.g. relatives, colleagues, friends.
If the eye of your child watches you running a race & sees you living your life with a chronic anxiety, a perpetual fatigue then the child’s mind DNA is likely to get mutated for his whole life. Kids get confused when they see their parents staring at their mobile phones & laptop screens almost the entire day. Caveat here: – your child will develop a severe lack if you discuss your insecurities, financial issues, relationship turmoil etc in front of the child.
No matter how much money you make or value you produce; trust me you are never going to feel enough. This race will very gradually lead to emotionally crippled children at home. Fulfillment in life will come not from collecting more things. It comes from feeling more love. One of the best gifts that a father can give to his child is to love the child’s mother. If the eye of the child sees a great relationship between the parents- it is half job done. Sarcastic & abusive fathers, over emotional & drama moms will help kids become amazing with their IQs when they grow up (IQ here is ‘Item Quotient’).
The summary is simple – ‘Having your child’s pic as a screensaver on your mobile is not enough. Look, feel & be comfortable’ when at home. Grow uncomplicated everyday & that’s it. Here’s how clever moms do it
2. Following their hobbies:
Successful parents find time for their hobbies, no matter what. And when kids watch their parents trying to fit in time for that piano or the weekly tennis or the daily run or the everyday reading – the lesson in the value of maintaining & improving a hobby gets reinforced every day.
We do not have a TV at home for the last 4 years. My 9 yr old son revolted initially but when he saw us at peace & doing a lot of interesting stuff at home e.g. reading, meditating, working out (fitness) & more – he began to just follow us up. You cannot afford to give the responsibility of the upbringing of your children to Ekta Kapoors or daily cricket matches. TV promotes unreal lives & just saps your vital family time which you can so devote to meaningful hobbies. Awesome parents raise rested kids & not the kids who look having been popped out (born) of a popcorn machine.
3. Reading & Traveling:
I probably can’t stress enough on the importance of a good reading habit & a hunger for traveling. Parents who give their children a good reading habit (& I do not mean Chicklit fiction by reading habit J ) & teach them how to travel – have already ensured that no matter what, their kids will grow up to be able to take care of themselves really well.
P. S – Travel does not mean vacation. Travel, is an inexplicable word that is a combination of solitude, nature & new experiences.
OK ! Let me ask you a few questions:- ‘How many sunrises did you see with your child?’, ‘How many hours in a week do you play with him/ her whatsoever your routines might be’, ‘Have you danced in the rain, played in the mud, pool, climbed a tree, cooked together or danced together as a family’?
The best investment I made in my life was not a plot of land or a big car or Mutual Funds. It was INR 150 spent on purchasing Ludo. The hours spent on fighting while during Ludo is most intense family moment I savor.
Awesome parents get kids into a reading habit early in life. My friend Abhinav lives in Gwalior. Monika bhabi said something beautiful to me some 10 yrs back. She said ‘When my daughter Somya started walking; I let her not budge / hit against a toy. It was books. There were books all around that she would touch and pick up’. Somya is now in class 10th & what an awesome girl she has turned out to be. Whenever I visit them; I am scared of talking history, literature & geography to Somya. Good parents expose their kids to the lives of ‘extraordinary achievers’ by getting them books and maybe even reading out to them (howsoever tired they maybe after day’s work).
Do definitely check List of fantastic books for your child’s reading habit
Successful parents understand and hence initiate an environment of discussing things with their kids early on. This early onset ensures that the kids grow up to appreciate the value of ‘talking things out’ – a very important lesson in communication.
Such parents don’t inculcate superstitions. They rear their kids with logic & reasoning. The liberty to ask questions and then come to a logical conclusion goes a really long way in helping them build a structured approach to thinking & taking decisions. Also check:– ‘KIDOLOGY’
5. The importance of Gratitude:
There was a study which found that gratitude was the single most powerful emotion that made people happier than what they were before. But surprisingly, a lot of us are really thankless people. We complain & crib and often fail to see the good that we have.
A kid who understands the importance of thank you is thankful for a lot of things in life. He knows how to count his blessings and find a way to make peace with himself / herself even in the toughest of situations…
6. Independence & Redundancy:
Successful parents start training their kids to be on their own right from the start. They watch over the kids with a hawk’s eyes but they also let them fight it out on their own. They let the kids play in the sun but also ensure they are well hydrated. And they slowly teach them why it is important to remain hydrated while playing in the sun, so that – soon the kid knows it & implements in without their reminders.
They teach them careful consideration, carefulness and responsibility. They don’t do for their kids, what their kids can do themselves.
7. Value of money:
I cannot stress enough on how important it is! And parents who know how to instill an understanding of money and how it works in their kids – are doing parenthood so very right.
I love it when I see kids from rich families making wise monetary decisions i.e. a balance between frugality and extravagance. Having a million dollars isn’t easy. Spending it shouldn’t be either. The trick is to teach your children not to spend on anything & everything that catches their whims and at the same time not be ‘penny wise & pound foolish’.
Entrust them with the ability to understand what is worth spending on & what is simply show business.
8. Good habits:
If your kid isn’t a morning person, he won’t be much of a person in the long run. This is harsh but true. The parents who give their kids this habit – are already ensuring awesomeness for them.
The most important thing with this – and any other habit is – it shouldn’t be enforced. Right now, a big problem with the Indian system of parenting is that ideas and thoughts are enforced on kids. And as soon as that reinforcement is removed, the habits go for a toss. Instead, these habits should be inculcated on the foundation of reason.
If you can make your kid love waking up early, make them understand how immensely helpful it is – you are rearing early risers for life. Giving them the ‘whys’ of life are very important I believe.
The better parents don’t take decisions for their kids in silos. From the time the kid can understand, they help them in decision making. I have seen numerous parents decide everything for their children. Let me tell you – it breeds a lot of discontent.
Maybe your kids know a thing or two. Maybe they know nothing. But involving them in decision making process equips them for the process later. Sit with them, talk them through the options and the consequences for the options and repercussions of the decisions. It breeds wonderfully logical people. My doctor parents discussed & guided me well about my career & life decisions but they let me take my own. Whether it was to move to Delhi for studying or leaving my job some 15 yrs back & becoming a Motivational Speaker in India
Parents who train their kids in the art & science of decision making, who choose the gift of decisiveness for their progeny – invariably end up imparting tremendous confidence into their little ones. Unfortunately I see most parents spending more time focusing on their child’s weakness than on developing their strengths. Such kids never will be able to become massive in their positive attitudes & decision making skills.
10. Practicing what they preach:
Goes an old example – ‘A father said to his son- “Be careful where you walk” …The son responded: “You be careful, remember that I follow your footsteps”. The biggest challenge that kids face today is to learn good manners without seeing any at home. Successful parents lead by example. They teach their kids by doing it themselves. If they are trying to instill the importance of truth in their kids, they don’t lie on a phone call from work about their whereabouts. If they want their kids to learn the value of healthy living, they make sure they don’t smoke / drink / lazy around.
Kids learn by watching. They learn compassion, courage & character at the feet of their parents. They learn to respect people from the respectful environment they get at home. They are like harvest. As we sow, so we reap. And the most successful parents are the best farmers around.
“Twenty five years ago I wish someone had told me that the enduring meaning in my life would be found in shaping my children’s values; not in my professional success.”
– A top Business Leader of the world.
Your children will be young only once. Put them ahead of everything else & see your life soar. You’ll be a hero if you can retain the courage to do even 50% of the above.
All the above may sound a tad difficult. But it is much easier than trying fixing a broken grown up. A child who is conditioned to be awesome – is always easier. If done well it might turn out to be your ‘heir raising experience’
My best wishes to you that you put up massive effort in becoming a HERO to your child.
Rise & Shine!