They say in order to really know if you understand something you should teach it to someone else. No place is this truer than in trying to raise children.
Trying to explain to your children why they have to clean their room or do their homework rather than play video games or eat ice cream for dinner can be a challenge. After all, I still want to play video games and eat ice cream for dinner!
Let’s not pretend like we, the adulating community, don’t secretly wish we could do all the things we thought we’d do once we became adults. Deep inside each of us is a small child screaming, ‘it wasn’t supposed to be like this!’
But that child inside us also understands that when you play video games all day and eat ice cream for dinner, your bank account contracts while your waistband expands. So somewhere along the way we make a deal with ourselves to put down the controller and pick up a book; to step away from the ice cream and step on the treadmill.
But these lessons didn’t suddenly appear to us as if by some miraculous, adult awakening. They came through experience, and through trial and error in our own adult lives. And that is exactly the same way it will happen for our children.
No matter how much we try to prepare them for the world, they will only half listen and never fully understand. We must surrender to the notion that we must say it four times in the hopes they hear it twice and that it sticks once.
Not until they’ve played all the video games and eaten all the ice cream will they realize what we are trying to teach them—and sometimes, not even then. Our job is to attempt to prepare them the best way we can. To quietly and without fan-fair, lay a foundation for adulting that will one day allow them to realize the key to reaching their goals is hard work, sacrifice and being willing to do things they sometimes don’t want to do.