How To Treat Others: 5 Lessons

One of the greatest lessons you can pass on to your kids is how to treat someone else. When you know how to treat someone properly it’s like being given the keys to the kingdom. So what are the important lessons to teach?

1-Respect-it’s important to have respect for those who are older or wiser than you, which could be anyone, so it’s best to try to respect everyone. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them, it just means that you can’t try them for treason (or worse) because they like the color blue and you don’t.

2-Politeness-this is about knowing how to act around others and what’s not appropriate for the group that you’re with, but it’s also about some of the basic tenets that you should follow when you’re in the company of others, whether physically or virtually. Yes, it’s good to have fun and games, but a kind act or word goes a long way beyond one of hatred or rudeness.

3-Listening-we’re pretty good at talking but not so good at listening. We’re a world of people who talk at work, online and all day long. It’s how we express ourselves so it’s not something we can avoid. But we’re not so good at being patient and listening to others, which is just as important as talking.

4-About Ignorance-unless something has changed that I don’t know about, you don’t know everything and neither do I. To assume that you do could have serious repercussions depending on exactly how ignorant you are and what you do that shows that ignorance.

5-Forgiveness-this is one of the most important lessons because it’s about the future. It’s not really about the past or the present, but about how your future and the future of someone else will go. Forgiveness isn’t always easy, but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that it wasn’t the right choice for everyone.

These are some of the lessons I learned growing up, what about you? What lessons did you learn and what ones are you trying to pass on to your kids?

“My parents would always say, ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy picking up the garbage or the President of the United States, treat everybody as you would want to be treated.” Dan Marino

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Forgiveness for Future Freedom

Forgiveness isn’t a topic to be taken lightly. Sure it’s easy to say the words and not mean them, but what good is that? Then you remain hurt and you hurt the other person or people as well. No, you can’t change the past or forget that it happened, but that’s not what forgiveness is about. Forgiveness is about seeing that what was done was wrong and enabling you (and the other person/people) to move on to the future. Maybe that future means changes, maybe it means counseling, maybe it means punishment for what was done wrong, but whatever the future holds, forgiveness is about choosing to move on to the future rather than staying stuck in the past.

Forgiveness is a healthy part of our world, a part that many people choose not to participate in. We all know it’s there, but sometimes we let our stubbornness and hurt feelings get in the way of what’s best for us. Forgiveness is like so many of the other healthy living topics we’re talking about this month: it’s a choice. Sometimes you don’t have a whole lot of control over your health and lifespan, like in situations of Chernobyl or the Titanic. But I would estimate that 75% of the time or more you do have a choice in your health and we don’t always make that choice.

It’s important to note that forgiveness isn’t saying that you agree to forget what the other person/people have done, forgiveness is recognizing and accepting what was done and the resulting consequences and choosing to move on anyway. Maybe that means you’ll move on together and work to resolve the issues, but maybe forgiveness means choosing to go your separate ways because that’s what’s best.

I encourage you to take time this weekend to consider if you’re withholding forgiveness from anyone or refusing to accept if from anyone and why that would be. Also consider what your life would be like if you chose to accept or offer that forgiveness.

Family Failures

Last month we spent a lot of time talking about family because it was our theme. It’s an important and challenging theme for our lives, one that many of us struggle with throughout our lives, whether we’re close literally or physically or not. They’ve seen us on our best and worst days, and always bring up these really fantastic memories. Today I wanted to bring up a painful topic: failure and what happens when your kid isn’t all you expected them to be.

It’s not easy as a parent to see them sick or see them fail, so our job is to do the best we can to help them be strong enough to survive when we can’t be with them. We need to teach them manners, what qualifies as good food, how to react to celebrities, how to survive in a professional environment, what it means to be street savvy, how to read people, a love for learning and an overall passion and respect for life.

When they fail, and yes they will fail at some time in some way, you will yell at them and get frustrated. It’s OK, it’s necessary and they expect it, so just get it out of the way. But then move on to helping them heal and make better choices the next time. Don’t keep berating them or guilting them for failing you or making you look bad. While that may have been their intention, that’s not what you should focus on. Instead focus on them and helping them do and be better.

Finally, make it OK to celebrate when they do better the next time. I’m not just talking about physical/tangible rewards, but praise and words that let them feel your pride in who they are becoming. I don’t believe there is any value in bringing up the bad unless they aren’t doing a better job or becoming a better person. Moving forward will make them better people, and you too.

“…not everything has to turn out exactly the way you planned in order for you to call it a success.” Neale Donald Walsch

The Choice of Hurt

On Monday I shared a little about whether or not we’re letting our fears get the best of us and our relationships and our success.  I want to continue that discussion today, but take it in a bit of a different direction.  We’ve all been hurt by our partners before, they’ve said something or done something or forgot something and it really got to us.  Maybe because it seemed like the thousandth time they did or forgot, and no amount of reminding seems to do any good.  Dealing with hurt is a natural part of our lives since we’re not perfect, but on the other side of things, we’re not always able to be the absolutely amazing person we know we are capable of being either.

So once we’ve been hurt we’ve got a couple choices: one to hold onto the hurt and let it ruin our lives, two to share the hurt with the person that hurt us to clear the air, or three to just let it go and love them anyway.  None of these are an “all the time” solution, they’re situational and depend on the person or people involved as well as what happened.  However, I don’t recommend the first choice as a real solution to any of your problems because it will only cause more pain and suffering rather than help anyone.

The thing I always come back to when deciding how to handle a situation is a question: can I still love this person if they never are able to resolve this particular issue?  For example, if my partner never remembers my birthday can I love them anyway?  Or if my partner never remembers that I have a standing appointment every Thursday can I love them anyway?  Or if my partner always leaves the seat up can I love them anyway?  Or if my partner doesn’t like my favorite TV show can I love them anyway?  In my mind the answer to all of these questions is a definite yes.

It’s when we get to harder questions about money, our physical relationship or kids that the answers aren’t so straightforward.  I believe that the harder questions should have the ability to make or break our relationships: no one should be in an abusive relationship or one in which the partners are so far apart in goals and desires.  So when it comes to the smaller things I tend to air on the side of love and forgiveness.

Each day we have to make the choice to stay with that person and keep sharing our lives with them.  What should be a rewarding, and occasionally challenging, relationship is often much more stressful than it should be because we’re not able make a choice one way or the other.  What choice are you making in your relationship?