Have you ever thought about what your children will have learned from you if you suddenly were no longer with them? What lessons would they have learned? What truths would they trust? What memories of you would they hold on to for the rest of their lives?
I think I am a good mother and I try to be. I try to spend meaningful time with my children and help them feel secure and loved. There are many things I want to teach them before they leave my home. I want them to understand how desperately I love and cherish them. I want them to know God loves them and for them to receive a testimony of Jesus Christ. I think most mothers would agree on wanting their children to understand those two truths; love and faith. But what else? What specific things do you want your children to learn from you? I have so many things I want to teach them, but other than religion and my love for them, these are the things I most want them to know.
To Lydia and Collin -
1. Find the right spouse. Nothing in your life can bring as much joy, or sorrow, as the spouse you choose. When you marry someone, you are tethered to them. Your lives are the same. Find someone who brings light and love into your life. Find someone who is always kind to you. Someone who is kind to others. Who make decisions based on your needs. Find someone you love to be around so much it hurts when they are away. Find someone who understands you need time for yourself as well. Find someone who shares your faith. Stay away from anyone who demeans or belittles you or doesn't understand your worth. Stay away from anyone lazy. Stay away from anyone who spends beyond their means. Stay away from anyone with addictions. ---- Don't rush. Don't let the excitement blur your vision of who someone really is. Take your time choosing this person. Get to know them. Live enough of your life to know what type of person you are looking for. And above all else, be the kind of person the man/women of your dreams would choose. - I married the man of my dreams, and other than having children, it is my greatest accomplishment.
2. Be gracious. This is different from just being kind. Being kind is so important, but being gracious encompasses much more. Make people feel comfortable around you. Be interesting, but more so, be interested in other people. Understand that the world does not revolve around you. Focus on others happiness, even if it is just in a warm smile and a friendly hello. Act sincere and be sincere. Serve others without needing to call attention to the act. To be gracious is to be kind, refined, loyal and focused on the needs of others. Understand the manners of society and follow them, but do not be uppity in your effort. To Lydia, this means to be a lady. To Collin, it is to be a gentleman.
3. Love your family above all else. During the high school and college years it is easy to believe that the friends you surround yourself with are the most important people in the world. While good friends are wonderful, more times than not, they end of becoming people you keep in touch with through Christmas cards. Your family is eternal. Spend time with your siblings. They will become your best friends. You will never regret an evening spent playing with your brother or sister. Be fiercely loyal to them. The memories made with your parents and siblings will be the one you hold on to. Keep a journal and record the things you do as a family. Include the adventures with friends, the crushes and the drama of youth. Those are important too. But years down the road, it is the record of your family that will be the most precious.
4. Become educated in all things good. Graduate from college. See the world. Learn and develop your talents. Read good books. Write your memoirs. Read the scriptures. Understand the religion you are living. Learn about the things that keep your body healthy and strong. Meet interesting people. Be an interesting person. Do not be lured into things of distraction and lethargy. Be an individual.
5. Have children and love them. If you are able to have children, do. Nothing will bring you more joy. Love them with everything you have. See the change they make in your life, not as an invasion or a derailment of your personal freedom (because you will feel that way at times). See them as the incredible blessing that they are and show them love and interest and all things precious. Teach them. Enjoy them. Make traditions that you hold close to. Create a loving environment for them to flourish. Let them see the love you have for your spouse. Take advantage of every opportunity to show love and to teach them. Remember that no success can compensate for failure in the home. Love your children. There is nothing as exquisite as holding your baby close, seeing your child learn to walk, learn to talk, become their own person. There is nothing like it in the world. I would guess that being a grandparent is wonderful as they get to see their children experience the love they themselves could never truly articulate. Love your children. Love them as your parents loved you. Utterly and entirely.
This is my list. What do you want your children to know?