Recently I heard about a survey given to a group of 10 year olds about “what’s wrong with grownups.” Here were some of their answers:
1. Grownups make promises, then forget them, or say it wasn’t a promise, just a “maybe.”
2. Grownups don’t do the things they tell their children to do—like pick up their things or always tell the truth.
3. Grownups don’t listen. They decide ahead of time what they’re going to answer.
4. Grownups make mistakes, but won’t admit them. They pretend they weren’t mistakes at all—or that somebody else made them.
5. Grownups always talk about what they did and what they knew when they were ten-years-old, but they don’t try to think what it’s like to be ten-years-old right now.
There are a ton of things we could discuss from this incredibly insightful (and embarrassing) survey, but I just want to focus on a few key things we can do to set better examples for the kids in our lives.
First: perfection and aiming for the moon are great, but usually unrealistic. Instead, promise what you know you can deliver, and if possible surprise them with something extra.
Second: words are powerful, so when we do or don’t follow through with what we’ve said kids think they don’t have to either (which leads to lots of fights and usually punishments).
Third: be open to all possibilities. The more you close yourself off to what could be the less likely that you’ll get what you really want in life. You’ll also end up alienating yourself from friends and family the less you’re willing to listen to and/or accept them for who they are and what they say.
Fourth: life has changed. Kids today live a different life than even college students today did when they were their age. So if that’s the case imagine how much has changed since when you were a kid!
Much has changed since you and I were kids, some things for the better and others not, and some things haven’t changed, like the value of love, honesty and family. This weekend I encourage you to pay more attention to how you’re interacting with your kids, what you’re teaching them about responsibility, and which of your own advice you need to follow more.