What 5 Things Do You Want Your Kids To Learn?

We’ve been talking about Disney quite a bit for some reason.  Can’t quite put my finger on it…

Anyway, I thought I’d look at the “Dads” part of our Club name today.  We formed this group and share a love of both Disney and family at least in part because we’re invested in our kids.  We’re spending time with them, coaching their sports teams, planning adventures, and hoping beyond hope they turn out to be happy, healthy, productive members of society that make us proud.  Bonus points if they can also belch the alphabet.

So, I wanted to post the question to you guys.  What things are you trying hardest to teach your children?  What’s most important to pass on as a Dad?  Here are 5 of mine:

  1. Faith.  This will be different for many of us, I’m sure.  But if I have views on the meaning of life, the afterlife, morality, etc., chances are they’re important to me and shape my worldview.  So you’d better believe I’m going to want to share that with my kids.  I find the hard part in this is to do it in a way that encourages them to think critically and consider all of the arguments, rather than simply dictating to them. 
  2. A Love of Adventure.  This is sometimes hard as well, because it translates to, “Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things.”  And sometimes I don’t do well with that–I never graduated from a 9-year-old’s average diet.  Nevertheless, I want them to embrace challenges and experiences, and of course to see the world.
  3. How Not To Throw Like A Girl.  Isn’t this the job of every American dad?  Even my daughter now knows how to step into a throw. 
  4. It’s OK to Go Against The Grain.  On some issues, I believe there is an absolute right and wrong.  But we get wrapped up in so many other things that aren’t important.  I want my kids to wear the clothes they like, not the ones everyone else is wearing.  It’s ok to hang out with the kids who (gasp) like reading books or science museums.  It’s ok not to want to buy the latest Justin Bieber album.  In fact, it’s ok not to know who Justin Bieber is.  On a related note, anybody have any tips on how to skip the junior high years?
  5. How to Be A Servant.  The world is full of selfish people with a sense of entitlement who demand everything be handed to them on a platter.  The world desperately needs more hard workers who put the needs of others or the whole ahead of their own.  I really hope my kids are the latter.

Naturally, there are several items on this list that I could do a better job of applying to my own life!

Anyway, that’s my list.  What do you want your kids to learn from you?

11 thoughts to “What 5 Things Do You Want Your Kids To Learn?”

  1. Very well said.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your list. The things I’m working on with my kids are:
    1. Put God First
    2. Treat other people well, no matter who they are or what they’ve done to you.
    3. It’s okay to be afraid of things, but you shouldn’t let fear dictate what you do.
    Sure Space Mountain might be scary, but if you don’t try it you’ll never know if you’ll like it.
    4. Sometimes things hurt or are hard. Its very hard to succeed at things if you stop at the first bit of pain or difficulty.

  2. I have to agree with both of your first.
    1. Faith- without it then this whole journey on this earth is for not. Im trying to instill in my kids as I have instilled in myself. I try to live the live of example. Our eldest brother was a great example unto us all and it is up to me and my wife to be the examples to our kids. The nieghbor kid isnt/shouldnt be that example.
    2. Honesty- without your word, you are nothing. Ive taught my kids that if you say you are going to do something…THEN DO IT! If you tell someone you will be there at 1pm, be there at 12:55.
    3. CAN’T- Not an option in our house! I tell them ” You are a Pratt, you can do anything”! Set your mind to it and do it, its that simple. And dont give up until you have done it.
    4. No quitting- just becuase its hard doenst mean its un-doable. I let my oldest son quit soccer once. Worst mistake I made. He constantly wants to quit piano, my wife and I weont let him. All my children will take piano until they have a say! lol or they turn 18yo which ever comes first.

    And the not throwing like a girl thing we are still working on! lol

    Great question/post Aaron thank you!

  3. Excellent, thought provoking post. As a new dad, I feel like I’m still trying to shape my view of who I am as a Dad what I want to teach my son. I’ve had a little over 14 months of practice being a Dad and we’re just now getting to that phase where we can interact and he’s picking up on things I try to teach him.

    This isn’t really in line with the question posed in the post, but when it comes to being a good parent, there is a wealth of ideas in the DIS Dad’s Club. Coming from somebody new to the game, I see ideas and comments mentioned in trip reports, general discussion in the DIS Dad’s thread and here that make a light bulb go on from time to time.

    I think as far as a list of things I want to pass on, you’ve hit the nail on the head, Mark.

  4. Mark,

    Great and touching post. Our legacies will never be determined by job titles or net worth, but how we shaped and molded those given to us as a gift from God. My 5 would be:

    1) Put God first, Family and others second, and yourself third. Serving others is more beneficial then being selfish.
    2) Hope – Hope is a gift and it breeds joy which lifts us up when we are at our lowest. This of course ties into serving and loving God.
    3) Do what you love. Find what it is life that moves you and pursue it with all that you have.
    4) Never root for the Red Sox – I will disown you in a heartbeat and never speak to you again, and you better never date a boy that likes them either or you will find yourself on the first train to the convent.
    5) Never stop trying. You will spend your life in a pool of regret if you throw in the towel every time life gets hard. Losing is part of life, failure is when you refuse to try and improve.


  5. Fantastic ideas, Mark, and very well written. Your work has a very Dave Barry-esque quality to it.
    I’ve never actually stopped and made a list of things that I need to teach my kids, but I always try to live my life the way I want my kids to live there’s. For Example:

    Think before you speak. The worst affliction a person can suffer from is Constipation of the Brain and Diarrhea of the Mouth. (My father passed away when I was 12, and that was one of the last things he passed on to me. I’ll never forget it as long as I live)

    Respect for all People. Never judge someone by the way they dress, the way the speak or the way they look. God made them, just like he made you.

    Finish what you start and take pride in your work. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

  6. 5) Never give up. I know it has been posted several times, but this is something that I feel is a foundatio to success.

    4) Father knows best, lol. We’ve all heard it, it was even the title of a sitcom. But, if I had accepted this truth earlier in life, some lessons would’ve been a lot easier to learn.

    3) Don’t be afraid to talk to that girl/boy Sure she might reject you, but you will never know until you talk to them.

    2) How to properly hand a gun. Yes I said GUN. My children are 5 & 8 and know how a gun works. They aren’t marksmen but they know what a gun does and have no curiosities about them.

    1) Believe in yourself. Don’t ever let some one else convince you that you can’t do something

  7. Lots of great thoughts here. Thanks for chiming in, guys. Many studies have been done showing the importance of a father’s presence in their children’s lives. I think we already knew this, but it bears repeating: we have some really great dads in this group.

  8. 1) I want my son to learn how to pray and hear from God for himself.
    2) My son needs to learn that it’s fine being the kid that “loves to read and loves science museums!” He will one day rule the world!
    3) My son can talk to me about anything!
    4) Remember the Cub Scout motto…DO YOUR BEST!
    5) Treat your mother like it’s Mother’s Day everyday!

  9. Right now my lil guy is at the age where he thinks he’s right and he’s the boss… So there are many things that i want to teach him… but some that stand out….
    1. Faith – and to learn about God. (Its hard, his dad doesnt practice any religion, and Im trying to find my way back to the church)
    2. Respect – Respect for both myself and his daddy, and his soon to be step dad. Along with being respectful to everyone else he encounters.
    3. He can do whatever he sets his mind to do.

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