My proudest moment last week was when my just-turned-three-year-old asked me to turn up the radio when the White Stripes Seven Nation Army came on. She knows it’s the song that requires her to stamp her feet in the back of the car to the sound of the bass drum with her imaginary drum sticks ready for the flurry of snare, tom and cymbals that comes about 45 seconds in. Come the drum solo my back seat is a frenzy of arms as she belts out the beat, head thrashing from up and down before the song goes back to a driving base beat.
As a parent there’s a lot you need to teach your children. Obviously there are the big-ticket items like walking, toilet training, stranger danger and making their own breakfast (not there yet but you need to have goals) but what about the other things that make life a little easier and/or more interesting. After telling my wife with teary pride about how her little girl now knows how to mosh in the back seat (not to mention the side benefit of our ABC for kids CD finally getting taken out of the car’s CD player) I got to thinking what other “life-skills” I would need to ensure are passed on;
As I’ve mentioned, I’m working on air drums first but we’ll soon be introducing air guitar. I’m also hoping to bring in air synth so we can do some Van-Halen tracks and maybe some air sax so we can do both solos in Baker Street.
Why? Well air guitar is the best way to appreciate the joy of playing an instrument without actually needing any skill whatsoever, a joy her father shares that has taken him to amazing festivals, concerts and events around the world. I also think its important that my daughter understands the different between music and what Justin Bieber and One Direction do.
The dust off
When your only two speeds are asleep and sprinting there’s going to be a few accidents, and where there are accidents and little ones, there’s usually tears. From very early on I’ve taught my little girl when she falls or bumps herself to get up and literally dust herself off. I’m not sure what came first, my gifted parenting or her high pain threshold but I’ve seen her walk away from some sickening falls and crashes with barely a tear.
Why is this good? Well with the energy that child number one has (and I suspect child number two will be no different) I’m going to have to get her into a lot physical activity, most of which will be mixed. I want my girls to be confident in mixing it with the boys and beat them at their own game.
The Illusion of Cleanliness…
If I think back to my childhood it would be safe to say a majority of arguments could have been traced back to cleanliness. Everything from putting things away to cleaning my room was a battle between my mother and her children (well me really). I think back and wish I had someone who told me that you didn’t actually need to be tidy, you just needed to appear tidy. You don’t actually need to make the bed, just shuffle it around enough so it doesn’t look unmade. You don’t need to pick everything up, just move it around your room so it’s out of the direct eye line of Mum and/or Dad.
Ok, so this might not be quite what the primary tidier wants passed down to their kids. It could actually be the reason that Mrs Illiterate is occasionally frustrated at me and my particular definition of cleanliness. From a kids perspective though, this skill will greatly reduce the nagging they receive and when combined with the next life skill, greatly improve their chances at getting the world to spin the way they want.
This may seem out of place in my list of Rock n Roll, extreme activity and strategies for reduced tidying effort but will probably help my girls more than any other trick tactic skill. In my experience, there is very little in life that can’t be sped up/made easier/delivered quicker/given faster by a simple please and thank you.
Why is this important? Well the same child that can put a please in front of a request for a snack and follow it up with genuine thank you will be the same person that dazzles a future girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s parents, circumvents airline boarding procedures, jumps hospital queues and dodges speeding fines (helps if you’re in a bikini but that’s another story). Manners are cheap, easy, take very little effort and could possibly save my children’s life (or at least get them on a plane).
Assume the best in people but remember, some of them are dicks
If there’s one thing blogging has reinforced for me is that most people are really, really, really nice. And these really nice people want to do really nice things. Blogging is like school, work, sporting teams, uni, mothers group or anywhere where there are people. A vast majority are good but occasionally you’ll meet a dick. The trick is to assume people are the former but be able to distance yourself from the latter.
I’m not quite sure how to teach this one. I suspect it’s a skill you develop over the long term and to be honest, I am still developing it today. What I’ll do in the mean time is make sure my girls offer everyone the chance to play air guitar with them, with a big please and thank you and when their done sweep the mess under the nearest bed. If those people say yes, then they are more the likely not dicks.
What are you trying to pass on to your kids? Is there one skill your really hope they learn from you? What was the thing you learnt from your parents? Would you play air guitar with me?
Sharing with Jess over at essentiallyjess.com because its a greta way to spend a blogging Tuesday.