Remember how impressed we were with Helen Keller when we first read about her story? Despite all of her hardships, she grew up to become the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts and became a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. Thanks to the love, care, and patience of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, despite her circumstances, Helen became a successful adult.
Her story is the ultimate reminder that how we raise our children has everything to do with the kind of grown ups they become. Although there isn’t a perfect formula, there are certain elements that come together beautifully in your quest to help your little ones become the greatest version of themselves that they can be.
- Read to them: The benefits of reading to your children are many and can never be stressed enough. A child who reads is a child with a good imagination, a child who loves learning; a child who knows how to spell basic words and excels in school.
- Assign chores: This is an invaluable lesson that will be useful for the rest of their lives. It teaches them about responsibility and about not expecting everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. It’s also a great tool to have them pitch in and be helpful. No matter how young your child is, chances are there are age appropriate chores they can do.
- Model generosity: The Golden Rule has endured the test of time because it is a precious lesson we learn early in life. Ask your children to think about how a specific event or set of circumstances might make someone else feel. Is someone sad? Can we do anything to cheer them up? Can we do anything to let them know they have a friend who cares? Can we share our time, food, or belongings to brighten their day? When interacting with others, it’s usually good to model Toy Story’s signature song, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (just make sure to have the “stranger danger” talk with them first!)
- Encourage them to pursue their own interests: Pablo Picasso once said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” While there are certain professions that make parents swell with pride when their children mention they might pursue them (law, medicine, and engineering come to mind) what happens if your child shows more creative interests? If your little one loves to paint, to play music, to write short stories, let them be. Could you imagine how bleak the world would be if Walt Disney, JK Rowling, George Lucas, Salvador Dalí, and Georgia O’Keefe had become accountants?
Allowing your children to flourish and reach their highest potential is the best gift we can give to our babies.
To their success and yours, the future is in your hands.