Whether you're a parent now, or plan to be, this article is for you. One of my most popular posts was “5 Things You Must Tell Your Parents Before You Die“. As a Father, I'm going to flip the tables a bit.
This is one of my favorite photos of my daughter and I 🙂
As parents, adopted parents, or even mentors we have have an intrinsic responsibility to show our children they are loved, valued, and protected. While writing this post, I literally could not find an article on things you “should tell” your kids. Everything was on things “you must stop saying” or “should never say”. That's just like our culture. It's always about stop, no, and quit. How about we adopt a new philosophy of start, yes, and keep going?
Here is my list of 5 Things You Must Tell Your Kids Before You Die:
1. You gave my life so much meaning. Thank you. – When my daughter was born I remember being hit with this insane rush of purpose. Life was no longer about work, hobbies, or myself. It was about experiencing her. Working because of her, doing things with her, and planning a future as a family. What a gift. As parents, we believe this is implied. But it's not. We must reach out to our children, at the right age, and thank them for the memories, the purpose, the laughter, and the love. After all, there is nothing quite like it.
2. I'm so proud of you. – Children need a surplus of affirmation. I can't tell you the countless stories of boys still working for their Father's approval or daughters seeking their blessing. Though we may not fully agree with our children's ways, we must commend them on completing the hardest task of all, independence. And even though this statement is said by almost all parents, the difference is made in quantity, creativity, and sincerity.
3. You were right, I was wrong. – Parents, leaders, and teachers can often times find themselves on the wrong side of an argument. While it's easy to play off our child's ignorance, a tiny moment of transparency and honesty will bring huge impact to your little one's development. But let's not stop there. Let this virtue carry on throughout your relationship, even through the harder years of adulthood. Just because your children are adults, does not mean you should stop acting like their parent.
4. This was my favorite moment – In a lifetime made of millions of memories, experiences, and stories – narrowing them down to one can be extremely powerful. To remind your child of a time where everything was perfect and claim it as your favorite will reinforce this special moment forever. But don't be brief, share it with passion, provide every little detail, and bring your child back (no matter how old they are) to that time where all things were just right. You won't regret it, I promise.
5. I'm Sorry – As I mentioned above, we all have moments of failure. Some were yesterday while others were years ago. It's easy to ignore the past and move on as if our memories have somehow erased it. But let me tell you a secret – They don't. If you have a parental failure don't ignore it. Lead with integrity, right your wrongs, and restore that piece of your child's history no matter how small. You only have so many tomorrows.
How does this make you feel? Do you have a statement to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.
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