A feature on the late Nelson Mandela on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” told of how he insisted to prison guards that political prisoners, such as himself, be treated with dignity.
“You better remember you are a prisoner,” said the general, who was “intent on putting Mandela in his place.”
“General,” Mandela replied, “you and I may be generals on the opposite side of this war. At some point, even if it is to accept the surrender from the other, we’ll have to meet. And how we treat each other now will determine how we interact at that moment.”
To me, it was a tremendous lesson in maturity, caution, respect and foresight. And it made me think of my young kids and all that I should be teaching them now to benefit them later.
A blog called Marc and Angel Hack Life posted about 10 choices you’ll regret in 10 years — choices that lead to the phrase “if only,” which they call “one of the saddest phrases in the English language.”
That lead me to 10 choices I think my kids will regret in 10 years — although, not if I can help it.
Here they are:
10 Choices My Kids Will Regret in 10 Years 1 of 11
(Although not if I can help it.)
Failing to Thank the One Who Brung Them to the Dance 2 of 11
It takes a village. It really, really does. The sooner you realize that — and simply thank people for helping you, the fewer regrets you might have later on about failing to appreciate those who lifted you up in big and small ways.
Covering It Up 3 of 11
Loving your body doesn't happen overnight. In fact, for so many people, hating their body starts at way too young an age. Help shape an affection for your kids' pot bellies and big booties by kissing them and squeezing them from a tender age. Lead by example by not disparaging your own shape. Kids will have plenty of opportunity to dislike their reflection in the mirror, but try to ward it off for as long as possible by showing them how much you adore what you see in them.
Not Getting Their Feet Wet 4 of 11
If the water looks cold, chances are it's cold. But sometimes it won't be, and those might be the very best swim days of the summer. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Oftentimes the very best reads won't be discovered until you dive in with a good attitude, sense of humor, and little faith.
Always Coloring Inside the Lines 5 of 11
Being neat is an admirable quality, for sure. Kids are taught as early as possibly not to make messes and to clean up after themselves. And yet some of the greatest achievements come out of some of the worst mistakes. Coloring outside of the lines — on paper and in life — might not win you any housekeeping awards, but it can be just the proof you need that beauty is where you find it.
Not Seeing the Forest for the Trees 6 of 11
Little people, little problems. And yet, you can't diminish the day-to-day concerns of a healthy, happy kid. But you can gently guide them to the fun that's right in front of them, because not so long from now, there may not be as many opportunities to blow and pop bubbles while running around barefoot.
Being a Tattletale 7 of 11
What goes around, comes around. Tell on your little sister and you're teaching her to tell on you. Don't squeal if it's not a big deal — because in the end, you're going to want more friends in your corner than enemies.
Not Reading Enough 8 of 11
Turning kids on to a love of books is giving them an open-ended ticket to years of imagination, fantasy and escape. Reading is a habit, though, that if not started at an early age, can be hard to pick up later on. Start reading and have them bring books to bed, the potty, in the stroller and car, as soon as you can. No one has ever regretted reading too much.
Being Unkind 9 of 11
Nobody's perfect and everybody has bad days. Still, the sooner kids can be made to realize that taking their grumpy moods out on other people through name-calling and tantrums just doesn't feel that good in the end, the better off they'll be in the long run. After all, oftentimes the person hurt the most is the one doing the hurting.
Eating More, Moving Less 10 of 11
Food is good. In so many ways. So is moving your body. However, too many kids do more of the former and not enough of the latter. It's easy to become accustomed to dessert every night and not getting outside and running around every day. Both should be thoroughly enjoyed and neither should be forbidden, although food should be less a function of reward, and exercise and play should be rote, not a punishment. Kids who learn early on that food is fuel and exercise is fun are more likely to become healthy teens and adults — emotionally and physically.
Worrying About What They Can’t Control 11 of 11
There's so much to worry about — no matter if you're 2 and worried that your mom won't come back when she closes the bathroom door behind her, or if you're 22 and worried you won't get a job after college. But some of the worries will always be out of your control. Learn when you're little what's within your ability to change and maneuver — and what is totally out of your hands. If you can let go of what was never in your grip in the first place, chances are you'll sleep easier and feel better.
Photo credits: Meredith Carroll
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