Hindsight is always beautiful, Hi-Def 20/20. Sadly, very, very sadly, children don't often take the time to look back until they have children. In our parent years, mom and dad can finally sit back and laugh, now that we know what it's like. When the time comes for some real parenting with our kids, we'll be struck with a single, game-changing thought:
Mom and dad already taught me this.
I've known this for years, and it's taken this long to see why I needed it.
Parenting is a thankless job, but you'll be thanking your parents for getting these lessons into your head:
How to work
Nothing comes free, and if you let your children wait to learn this until they're out of the house, you will both be in for a lot of pain. Having everything you need from clean clothes, to carrots out of the garden, takes work. Very seldom will something be handed to you.
Paying for your own things
It's one thing to work for what you have; it's quite another when that thing is money, and you don't know how to spend smart. Teach your kids how to use money by experience and they'll never get caught in a bad loan or a spend-happy habit. Not learning how limited a resource money is skews what's really valuable. How badly do your kids really want the newest clothes or the coolest phone if it cleans out all the savings they have?
What you have does not define you
I was 3 or 4 years old, eating an ice cream cone, not a care in the world. My sister was outside, and I waved the cone at her through the window, "nah nah nah nah nah!" Mom saw what I did, took the ice cream from me and gave it to her! It was my earliest experience with feeling better than someone else, and being punished for it. Ever since I have understood that what you have does not and cannot be a part of your identity; the man driving a Ferrari deserves the same respect as the man on a secondhand bicycle.
You're not the only one who matters
I've always had a real passion for eating. At nearly every meal, mom quietly whispered the reminder that I was not the only one at the table and I needed to slow down. I didn't pay attention often because there was always plenty. Then I ate with people who really had very little, and mom's advice came back to me while she wasn't even there. The larger idea behind this is that the dinner table didn't revolve around me, and neither does anything else. Everyone else matters. Do not make the mistake of placing yourself first.
See what needs to be done and do it
No one can cause more irritation than the slacker that doesn't do anything unless they're told to. Excuses are hollow; anyone can see something that needs to be done, and do it. I guarantee no one needs to ask permission to load the dishwasher or do the laundry. No one wants to hire the one that needs constant babysitting. Seeing what needs to be done and doing it is essential to a successful life.
Your son pouting over having to do his chores will be a father someday.
Remember when your daughter cries over hand-me-downs that she is going to nurture the next generation.
When you arrive where your parents are sitting, do you want your children to look back on what you taught with panic or relief?