What's The Most Important Thing A Parent Can Teach A Child?

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When I read that Paul Newman's kids, all of whom are already well-off, were infighting over his estate while his wife was battling Alzheimer's disease, it made me ask a question. What is the most important thing a parent (or guardian) can teach a child? I think it is to instill a sense of appreciation for things.
  • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
    Never eat seafood from an airport lounge.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    I don't think there is "one" most important thing. If I had to name something though, I'd probably say a healthy sense of self-worth based on real criteria, not the phony pop-psychology that leads to a sense of entitlement. I'd want to convey that the child is good enough just as they are, and let them know then can become anything they want if they choose to become more.

    I read once that the two best things you can give a child are wings and roots. I think there's a lot of wisdom in that brief passage.
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  • Profile picture of the author SShip
    There are many... But if we're only choosing one, it would be for them to love themselves and others.
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  • Don't tell lie
    Dont loose your Self respect
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan Riffle
      Originally Posted by triobacklinkbuilder View Post

      Don't tell lie
      Horrible advice. What's the kid supposed to do when his future wife asks, "Does this make my butt look big?"
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  • Profile picture of the author marketingva
    My son says the most important thing I taught him was to be kind and compassionate. By the time he was twelve or so other children at school would come to him for advice and comfort. This has made him a person that other people want to be around.

    Bonnie
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    • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
      As already has been stated, there are so many important things to teach a child, that you can't really choose just one.

      That being said, I would say that one of the things you must teach them is that they are uniquely special with God-given natural talents and abilities combined within them, that no one else on earth possesses. This makes them a special gift to the world.

      However, if you ask my children, they say that the most important thing I taught them was that "Life is not fair".

      All three of them have said this.

      I guess I really never realized how important that was to them until my oldest was a senior in high school. There was a parent/teacher/student conference night where the student took the parents to all of their classrooms to meet the teacher and talk. Each classroom had the best of the student's work displayed in the rooms.

      When we entered one room and met the teacher, the teacher explained the projects hanging up were from an assignment where they were asked to choose a famous quote that had really impacted their lives in a positive way and create a piece of artwork out of it.

      As hubby and I searched the wall looking for our daughter's, I saw numerous quotes from Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, etc., then there was one that read, "Life is not fair!" Author, My mom.

      When I saw that, I got all choked up and my eyes welled up with tears. It was my daughter's.

      I merely wanted to let my kids know that life wasn't always fair and that sometimes, they would encounter and experience some situations that were completely unfair to them, but that life had a way of evening things out as it went on. I didn't want those injustices and bouts of unfairness to cause them to carry a chip on their shoulder so they could maintain a positive attitude.

      I never dreamed those simple words could have impacted them so greatly.

      Terra
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  • Profile picture of the author Maji92
    Don't lie.
    Love everybody.
    Be a good person.
    Help everybody who want, some day they will help you back
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Choosing one? Okayyyyyyy......

    Integrity. Building solid principles and standing on them even when it is less than convenient or comfortable to do so.
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  • Profile picture of the author socialentry
    dont eat yellow snow
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Talking to my grown sons I was surprised to find they feel they learned more from the hard times than from the "life lessons" I thought I was teaching when life was easier.

      When things got tough for a few years they had to pitch in and help and I felt so guilty about that. Now I've learned those were the times that taught self reliance and resilience. Who would have thunk it?

      I wanted them to be kind, respect themselves and be happy. What more could you ask?

      kay
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      It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.

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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    I don't have my own kids, but judging from my nieces and nephews, it would be how to wipe themselves.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      I don't have my own kids, but judging from my nieces and nephews, it would be how to wipe themselves.
      Now, That was good for a 30 second belly laugh! Thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author subisa852
    I think the best thing that we can teach to a child is the right etiquette because when he has this he knows how to respect other people.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Be proud of your conduct.

    Get good at something. And then get better.

    Always say her butt does not look big.
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Self reliance. Also, how to sell. No matter what you end up doing in life, or what direction the economy takes, if you know how to sell you'll never go hungry. There will always be products for sale.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

      Self reliance. Also, how to sell. No matter what you end up doing in life, or what direction the economy takes, if you know how to sell you'll never go hungry. There will always be products for sale.
      "How to sell". Damn you Rule!

      OK, I'm changing mine to;

      Self Reliance
      The benefits of being kind to others
      How to sell.

      Satisfied now?

      Added later; That nearly everything that happens is to your advantage, if you just figure out how.

      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Talking to my grown sons I was surprised to find they feel they learned more from the hard times than from the "life lessons" I thought I was teaching when life was easier.

      When things got tough for a few years they had to pitch in and help and I felt so guilty about that. Now I've learned those were the times that taught self reliance and resilience. Who would have thunk it?

      I wanted them to be kind, respect themselves and be happy. What more could you ask?

      kay
      Kay, I would have thunk it. My son never really experienced a hard childhood, But there were times I knew that I had to teach self reliance. And so he would get angry. I would answer any questions, talk to him like an adult, but wouldn't give in.
      He would ask "Why are you being so unfair?'

      And I would tell him that he had to learn. That I loved him enough that I would let him be angry with me, if I knew it would help him later.

      When he grew up, some of the greatest compliments he paid me were about forcing him to be responsible.

      You sound like a terrific Mom.
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      "Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity" Friedrich Nietzsche
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  • Profile picture of the author Ricardo Furtado
    Unfortunately, there is hardly anything that anyone can teach kids of today. You try to do your best for them, but the harder you try, the worse they turn out to be. Kids of today have minds of their own and they will not listen to the advice of their parents.
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    • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
      Originally Posted by Ricardo Furtado View Post

      Unfortunately, there is hardly anything that anyone can teach kids of today. You try to do your best for them, but the harder you try, the worse they turn out to be. Kids of today have minds of their own and they will not listen to the advice of their parents.
      I'm hoping that in encouraging my son to apply his own intelligence instead of my resorting to applying a strong leash, that he won't even need to follow my advice as he grows up (I think I may have watched too many dog whisperer Cesar Millan videos). Kids of today are definitely in different circumstances than when I was a kid. Much of what I learned in school and in life as a kid is basically obsolete nowadays, if it wasn't bogus to begin with.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ricardo Furtado
        Originally Posted by thunderbird View Post

        I'm hoping that in encouraging my son to apply his own intelligence instead of my resorting to applying a strong leash, that he won't even need to follow my advice as he grows up (I think I may have watched too many dog whisperer Cesar Millan videos). Kids of today are definitely in different circumstances than when I was a kid. Much of what I learned in school and in life as a kid is basically obsolete nowadays, if wasn't bogus to begin with.
        Very true. Very true.
        I wish you the very best with your child.
        Regards
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        Ricardo Furtado

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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by thunderbird View Post

        Kids of today are definitely in different circumstances than when I was a kid. Much of what I learned in school and in life as a kid is basically obsolete nowadays, if it wasn't bogus to begin with.
        OK, you have me VERY curious! A decade before I went to school, some might have learned that there were FEWER than 50 states in the US, because there WERE. GRANTED the idea of records, tape, and the like might be obsolete now, but could be useful. HECK, records are basically like some old CDs but with 2-4 way mechanical tracking rather than laser diodes. Hard disks use the same basic technology as tapes. SOME may argue against non laser and non inkjet printers, but dot matrix STILL have a purpose. Typewriters do ALSO! ICs also weren't as common.

        English? MATH? Relevant history? Chemistry? etc...? Didn't change much.

        Frankly, there are things they taught even 2 years ago that they don't now, or are planning not to, and they SHOULD teach them. In 10-20 years, the world may be WELL onto its way of following mike judges famous dystopian tale(starring "Luke Wilson").

        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
          Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

          OK, you have me VERY curious! A decade before I went to school, some might have learned that there were FEWER than 50 states in the US, because there WERE. GRANTED the idea of records, tape, and the like might be obsolete now, but could be useful. HECK, records are basically like some old CDs but with 2-4 way mechanical tracking rather than laser diodes. Hard disks use the same basic technology as tapes. SOME may argue against non laser and non inkjet printers, but dot matrix STILL have a purpose. Typewriters do ALSO! ICs also weren't as common.

          English? MATH? Relevant history? Chemistry? etc...? Didn't change much.

          <snip>
          The presentation of interpretation of history (integral to history) has changed, and many things once taught as fact have been re-examined, even debunked. Let's face it. A lot of it was BS and outright fabrications -- you know it, I know it.

          Math and chemistry are more your turf than mine. Basic levels may not have changed much (advanced levels are a different story), but. again, with computers and software, an ever expanding array of apps, tablets & other mobile devices, newfangled calculators, how they are presented and, in turn, how students experience them has changed. Maybe for the better, if properly applied. That said, if gadgets are being used to solve the problems, can that result in students brains not being exercised as much in some areas? Sort of like driving instead of walking can result in less exercise and more flabbiness?
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  • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
    don't hurt other people - its bad. don't hurt yourself - its stupid. try to help out other people, don't be afraid to ask for help - but only after trying to help yourself, feel free to be sad and mad but get over it, remember that different isn't bad or better - its just different and makes the world a more interesting place and finally have fun along the way....
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  • Profile picture of the author wyatt2011
    To put God first.
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Also, I would teach them the right way to carry a pillow.

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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    That whatever happens in life they can always be successful and achieve/accomplish anything they want. : )
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    "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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  • Profile picture of the author Sweersz
    To put god last.
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  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
    Know who you are and where you're at.

    The greatest love of all is learning to love yourself, don't be an idiot about money, be a kindhearted person and make sure you teach the above to my grandchildren.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    If you're in a poker game and can't figure out who the patsy is, guess what?
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
      This is great!!!

      ...

      Let me tweet that.

      Joe Mobley




      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      If you're in a poker game and can't figure out who the patsy is, guess what?
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      If you're in a poker game and can't figure out who the patsy is, guess what?
      That was brilliant.

      My son played poker for a living for a year or so in Las Vegas. I asked him about it. He said that he never plays with professionals or in tournaments. He plays at tables with tourists.

      I asked him how he always wins. He said "I get up at Midnight, and start playing at 1AM. And I don't drink". That was it.
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      "Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity" Friedrich Nietzsche
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  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    the guitar

    im 4th generation, taught by my father and grandfather, long may they reign

    getting better all the time
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