Our children are living in a world bombarded with information, social media, insecurity and pressure to be perfect. With all of this, it can seem difficult at times to get through to your children. You can only hope as a parent that you are raising a child that will grow up to be an outstanding human being in a world full of darkness.
Jonathan Sacks' web series, "Being an Inspiring Parent," sheds some light on the subject of raising a child who grows up to be the person you dream they will be. These 13 rules will give any parent some insight on how to inspire your children to reach their full potential.
1. "Give children the space to inspire us, and they will"
Children are bombarded with an overload of information, every day. As a parent it's difficult to inspire our children when their attention spans are short and overstimulated with media and information. Instead, let them inspire you. Take a step back and make sure they have the space to inspire.
2. "Serve in joy"
No matter how or where you're serving, make sure your children know that it's a joy. Give them an example to follow. Sacks quotes William Wordsworth when he says, "What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how." Serving in joy will teach our children what really matters in life.
3. "Show your children the ethical ideals by which they should live"
Parents are trusted to help their children be decent humans. This is a big responsibility, but the best way to do this is to lead by example. If you're living your life with high ethical standards, chances are they will, too.
4. "Do not let your kids grow up behind high walls"
You're going to want to put your kids in a bubble to protect them from the world, but that's not a realistic option. Your children will interact with people who don't share your beliefs and standards - which is an excellent learning opportunity. Trust that your child will go into the world and stick to the beliefs you taught them.
5. "Song is the language of the soul"
Teach your children through song. Sacks says that life and religion aren't just cognitive; they are a matter of the heart and emotion. Music is a wonderful way to communicate to your children. Let them feel the importance of what you're trying to tell them, instead of just hearing it. If they feel it, they will live and believe it.
6. "Empower your children not just to sit and learn, but go and do"
Your children will internalize what you do more than what you say. Give them the tools and power to go out into the world and do good things. Lead by example and make a difference in the world.
7. "Be in the world but not of the world"
There are great things and bad things about society today. Morality issues are being challenged that were never challenged before. This is a scary thing that your children have to deal with, but you can still live in this world without following the world's trends.
You don't want your kids to be social outcasts, but they need to be taught to make good choices, even when no one else is. Having the courage to live your standards will inspire your children to do the same.
8. "Have self-control"
Instant gratification is becoming the norm and give kids the misconception that they can have anything they want now. Instead, teach your children patience and self-control for the sake of their success.
9. Give them "keys to stability in a world of change"
Sacks says, "The biggest fact in leading to happiness and a meaningful life is the quality and strength of your relationships." The people your kids build relationships with are key components in their development. Give them a community they can come back to, one that will support and love them.
10. "Let them surprise you"
As hard as it is, it's important to let your children be on their own and experience life for themselves. Sacks, quoting Hilary Putnam, says, "Every child has a right to be a complete surprise to its parents."
11. "Have faith in your children and you will give them faith in themselves"
Your child is going to mess up. They're going to disappoint you. This will break your heart but it's so important to keep having faith in them. Positive words and encouragement from you can make a world of difference to them. Give them that push to better themselves.
12. "Be thankful for your children"
Even when you're angry and disappointed at your child, be grateful for them and let them know that you are thankful. It might be hard, but if your child knows that someone is grateful for them they'll be able to learn from their mistakes. Remember Sack's words:"Every child is a testimony of the greatest miracle you and I will ever see."
13. "Give your children the space to give to you"
Someday your child will ask a question you won't know the answer to. Give them the resources they need to learn the answers you can't give them, and they'll teach you in return. Sacks says that the most important thing you can give your child is "not what you teach them, but what you empower them to teach you ... the greatest gift is the ability to give."
When you let your children inspire you that's when you'll know you've inspired them.