I remember watching a comedy routine called ‘Five Minutes University’ by Don Novello who played a character called Father Guido Sarducci. He promised that you can get an entire college education in five minutes. “Yes, folks,” he said, “everything you need to learn in college in only five minutes time!”
The idea was that you can sum up in five minutes what people remember having learning through their entire college education. Funny, but not far from the truth, don’t you think? We often forget what we learn formally. However, we almost never forget the lessons we learned from our parents.
One of the reasons a child learns most effectively from its parents is that there is love and trust in that relationship. These two ingredients will make children absorb lessons from you that you might not even realize you are teaching.
How often I have reached out to administer First Aid to someone using all the ‘tricks’ I have learned from my mother. How many times I have asked an older person questions that made them reminiscence about times gone by, just the way I have watched my father do.
You, dear parent, are the Chancellor of the your child’s University – the School of Life.
Does that mean that you have to set aside time from your already busy schedule to teach your children? No, it means that you must become aware that your children are constantly learning life skills from you. You can turn things in your daily routine into a lesson for them. For example, a simple outing to the grocery store can be a lesson. Getting your child involved in making a shopping list, can teach her the advantages of being organized. Mental maths can be practiced at the store as you get your son involved in adding up the cost of items. You could also make sure that they learn to shop within a budget.
Similarly, getting your children involved in doing the laundry, setting the dinner table or washing up the dishes can all be lessons that will last them a lifetime.
Remember, there are some important things your children will learn from you, make sure you do them:
1. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally.
2. Eat healthy and exercise.
3. Surround yourself with good friends.
4. Put yourself first – it’s not selfish to teach your child that you matter.
5. Do one thing everyday that you enjoy, even if it takes only a few minutes.
6. Be silly and make time for laughter. A sense of humor is a major life skill you can pass on to your child.
You learn too from your child. Be open to teaching and learning as you enjoy the beautiful gift of parenting.
Corinne Rodrigues used to be a teacher to teenagers and has a lot of experience counseling and working with troubled youth. She is now a full-time blogger at Everyday Gyaan.