One of my least favorite things in the world is people feeling like they are owed something just by virtue of being alive. I think it's important for everyone to value the idea of working for what they want.
Thinking about it made me start making a mental list of all the things I want to teach my kids and the rules they must follow on the road to adulthood. I will share with you now...
- Working hard is important. In fact anything worth having is worth working for.
- You should never expect anyone to hand you anything, but don't miss an opportunity.
- Always, always respect your fellow humans. They can be your teachers, your parents, your friends, or your friends' parents. Respect them. Even if they are idiots. Human beings deserve respect, and I will expect you to dish out heavy helpings of it.
- No one gets anywhere by being a jerk. Even when you're mad, be nice. Don't yell. Don't make obscene hand gestures. Do not use swear words to try to express anger. You'll look like an idiot, and you won't get anything accomplished.
- But you have to stand up for yourself. Because I won't always do it for you. If you have a problem with a friend or a teacher or a coach, I will expect you to try to work it out for yourself first. But I'll always back you up because I'm your mama.
- Do as I say, not as I do. (If I have to stand up for you, I might not observe all the aforementioned rules. You will be instructed to cover your ears.)
- T, you must always go to the door when picking up a girl for a date. And you will shake her daddy's hand and be nice to her mama. You will have her home on time, and you will walk her to her door. Otherwise, you will answer to me.
- S, you will not be allowed to go out with boys who do not observe those rules.
- S, your panties and bra will never be allowed to hang out. You will not go out of my house looking like a skank. In addition to respecting others, you will respect yourself.
- You should always be honest, but you shouldn't be mean. Sometimes bending the truth is okay if it keeps you from hurting someone.
- You will not backtalk. (I know someone who has created a concoction called "sassy juice." It is some abhorrent combination of spices and liquid that she keeps in a squirt bottle, and if her kids backtalk, she makes them open up and she hits them with the nasty stuff. I think it is brilliant parenting.)
- When you break rules, there will be consequences. You will learn this from me because I don't want you to learn it from a court of law.
- You will be grateful for gifts, and you will write thank you notes. (Utterly tasteless and tacky joke: Why don't southern girls have orgies? Too many thank you notes to write. Bada-bing.)
That's all for now because S is wanting to make more aliens from play dough, and I can no longer resist her.
What do you want to teach your kids?