Here are the 5 most important life lessons that I feel we can teach children:

You are good enough

So many people have an underlying belief that they aren’t good enough and are always striving to be better or to change. Social media doesn’t help with this as people tend to only post the good parts of their lives, which gives a false sense of reality and what’s achievable. I bet most of us have been guilty of scrolling through a million pictures in order to find one that is acceptable enough to go online!

Gone are the days when we used to have to wait for films to be developed for a week before we could see what monstrosities awaited us! Now, everything is readily available and instant and if all else fails, there’s a filter to tweak the bad bits! Technology is great, however, with this comes a portrayal of perfection that our children need to be aware of. In this digital world, where everyone is striving to be the best, it’s more important than ever to teach children that they are good enough, just as they are. We all have our strengths, and we all have our weaknesses. We need to teach children to accept themselves (flaws and all) so that they spend their lives nurturing their own unique zone of genius, rather than putting wasted energy into trying to be like everyone else and something they are not.

Just being your perfectly imperfect self will always be good enough.

Kindness is key

Kindness can often be mistaken for weakness when in reality it is a sign of strength. I teach my children that we cannot control anyone but ourselves and that our actions and reactions say everything about us. If someone says or does something to us that isn’t okay, we always have a choice with how we react. What they deserve and what we should do, in my opinion, are often two totally different things. By choosing kindness above all else, we allow ourselves to deal with the situation with dignity and see the lessons in it rather than trying to find blame. This does not mean that we need to condone or accept someone’s behaviour. We absolutely shouldn’t. However, we don’t have to meet someone else’s fire with fire because that does nothing but lower our own energy and keep us stuck.

In every situation we find ourselves in, good and bad, there is always a lesson in it for us. Quite often life is like a mirror. What annoys us in someone else can at times, be a reflection of something in ourselves. Either there’s part of our own personality that can sometimes be the same, or they are reflecting back to us something that we lack.

Scenario:

Someone who is loud and opinionated is getting right on your nerves.

Possible lesson:

Can you sometimes be quite opinionated or loud?

Or are there times when you wish you could voice your opinion, but don’t through fear of confrontation?

Now, this does not mean that we have to tolerate bad behaviour because we absolutely do not. Sometimes we need to walk away. However, if we come from a place of kindness and look for the lesson within it, we can use the situation to become a better version of ourselves. By looking at things through a calm lens, we can also often see a bigger picture and it leaves that person with the consequences of their behaviour, rather than diluting it with our own anger.

Being different is great

Many of the world’s most successful people didn’t fit in when they were younger. They had flaws like the rest of us, however, they also had phenomenal strengths and focused on these above all else. Quite often people who think outside of the box and do great things, don’t actually fit into a box and are very different. We need to teach children that it is okay to stand out from the crowd because we all shine in our own way. Differences are something to be embraced (in ourselves and others) because it is within our differences that we can find greatness.

It’s okay to feel how you feel

Quite often, as a society, we feel apologetic when we have negative emotions. Like there’s something wrong with us because we should be okay. We look around and see that we aren’t doing too badly in comparison with everyone else and because of this, we don’t really have the right to feel the way that we do. Here lies the problem because we are all wired differently and we all have our own emotional limits. What impacts one person, might be a breeze for someone else. Problems are relative to one person – YOU!

Suppressing how we feel will only ever lead to deeper rooted issues, so it’s important to teach children that it is okay to feel how they feel. Staying stuck in our emotions isn’t good for us either, but we most definitely need to acknowledge them and give them the space to exist within us in order for them to be addressed, dealt with, and processed.

It sounds strange, but I often put a time limit on how I feel. An example of this is when I realised that my first business (a personalised book company) wasn’t going to succeed. Years of hard work had led to a point of me having to walk away and let it go. I told myself I had 24 hours to feel sad, cry and be angry at the world. However, when this time was up, I had to pull myself together. I literally had to force myself to look at what I still had and how I could move forward in a different way using the lessons I had learnt. As hard as that moment was, it was one of the biggest turning points in my life. I realised that I still had my storybooks, but just had to find another way to get them into the world. I then had an ‘aha’ moment and combined my teaching experience with my books and launched Early Years Story Box. Now, nurseries, childminders, and primary schools throughout the UK give my books as gifts to children to help them to process their thoughts and feelings.

Had I not allowed myself the time to feel all of my emotions, they would have lived inside me and silently influenced my choices and how I viewed myself. Acknowledging them and then forcing myself to step out of them did the opposite and allowed me to process my self-doubt and then park it so that I could move on to better things that were awaiting me.

Winning isn’t everything

We live in a very ‘win/lose’ world where quite often people get wrapped up in the end goal rather than just enjoying and embracing the journey. In life, it is important to do our best. Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn. However, we never lose. Some of the biggest blessings in my life have been unanswered wishes. There are times when we do everything right and give it our all and it still isn’t enough. That’s just the world’s way of guiding you down a different path. If we can learn to focus on effort above all else, see the lessons in failure and accept that to some degree what is meant for us won’t pass us, we will be more at peace with ourselves. Our worth should never be defined by our wins. We will have ups and downs and continual lessons along the way. We need to teach children that failure is just a stepping-stone to success and to embrace it because it is part of the path that is guiding them to their brilliance.

About the author:

 

Stacey Kelly is a former teacher, a parent to 2 beautiful babies and the founder of Early Years Story Box, which is a subscription website providing children’s storybooks and early years resources. She is passionate about building children’s imagination, creativity and self-belief and about creating awareness of the impact that the Early Years have on a child’s future. Stacey loves her role as a writer, illustrator and public speaker and believes in the power of personal development. She is also on a mission to empower children to live a life full of happiness and fulfilment, which is why she launched the #ThankYouOaky Gratitude Movement.

Sign up to Stacey’s Premium Membership here and use the code PARENTA20 to get 20% off or contact Stacey for an online demo.

Email: stacey@earlyyearsstorybox.com or Telephone: 07765785595

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