Do you want your children to be ready to face the world when they leave your protective nest?

My generation was raised by parents who lived during the Great Depression and WW II. Because of their unique life experiences, they knew how important it was to teach us useful principles that would help us throughout or lives.

My wife wondered why her dad taught her some basic house electricity. When we built our retirement home, she did all the electrical outlets. We did everything (accept build the house shell and set up the plumbing) from skills we had learned or acquired at the time. Today, we try to pass on some of these skills to our grandchildren.

As you teach your own children and help them with their personal development, here are some suggestions that you can use to prepare them to be successful in an unpredictable world.

1. Teach them how to work (and love it!)

Coach them to give every job their best effort, no matter how big or small it is. Encourage them to finish the job. It's important that they understand what it means to be responsible. Don't allow them to do poor work and have them admit to their mistakes. Teach them many skills, and how to use a variety of tools: a mixer, iron, vacuum, wrench, drill, mower, etc. Your children will use their work ethic and useful skills their entire life. You never know when they might need them.

2. Teach them to behave

There are five basic principles that are important for every child to learn: (1) Honesty: An honest person doesn't have to manufacture excuses. (2) Respect: Respect yourself, other people, property, laws, life, nature. (3) Gratitude: This is the mark of nobility, as is charity, humility, kindness. (4) Service: This is love in action. Jesus Christ is a prime example of service. (5) Courage: Courage To Resist. Courage To Redo. The words of Shakespeare are still true: "This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

3. Teach them to take care of their toys

It is preparation for taking care of things of greater value. Everything has more value when properly cared for and not abused.

4. Learn to love, pray, sing, to find joy in reading

Children will need these all their lives, especially when they are old and feeble: They will be the friends of a tired and weary mind. For example: The words of a hymn or a memorized scripture can help you fall asleep quicker and more pleasantly than counting sheep.

5. Teach them how to observe

Teach your children to observe how things are done, where things are, and who is around you in any situation. They will always be aware of your surroundings and not be caught unawares. They will know what to do in most circumstances. Also, employers love people who have learned to observe well.

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