The Most Important Lesson You Can Ever Teach Your Child

Sometimes our kids ask us tough questions. Here's the critical teaching they should know.

Last updated on Mar 24, 2023

THIS Is The Most Important Thing To Teach Your Kids Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock

We want our kids to grow up and be open-minded and always cautious, but curious about the world. And that starts with us. We have to be mindful of how we talk to our kids about life, especially some tricky topics. 

Maybe your grandparents have died and it's the day of the funeral you're trying to hold it together for the three-year-old you have who doesn't understand what death is and asks you where Papa Joey is. How do you explain death to a toddler? And in the 5 minutes you need before you absolutely must be out the door?


What if you've brought your adorable little angel with you to a nice dinner with your in-laws and your son loudly asks you what teabagging is after the joke he heard your husband make in the kitchen that morning?

Hopefully, the things your child asks you aren't as embarrassing or thought-provoking as these examples are.

Sometimes, the two of you are just having a regular moment and your child asks you questions somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

“Mama, is being pretty important?” my daughter asked while she watched me put mascara on tonight in front of the bathroom mirror.

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“Well, baby girl, I’d be lying if I said it isn’t helpful to be pretty—but there are other qualities that are much more important.”

“Like what?”

“Well…courage. Being able to look at the things that make you scared and figuring out a way to shrink them into something small and manageable.”

“What else?”

“A sense of how absurd sh*t in life can be.”

(My daughter gives me a whatchoo talkin’ bout, Mama look.)

“That means that things happen in life you don’t plan for and don’t want, but if you find a way to laugh at it, you’ll own it. It can also help you be brave, too.”


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“And resourcefulness is important, too…”

“What’s that?”

“Remember the time we got locked out of the house and you suggested crawling through the window? That’s being resourceful—that’s figuring a way out of a tough situation.”

“What else?”

“Curiosity. Ask questions. And question everything you hear from grown-ups—your teachers, the government, even me and your dad.”


“Why what?”

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“I’m just questioning you as you said.”


“You said it’s important to be funny.”


At this point, my son comes out and says, “Mama don’t forget the most important thing.”

“What’s that?”

“Brush your teeth and don’t be an a**hole.”

I know some adults today who could still heed that important life lesson.

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Sarah Tuttle-Singer is a freelance writer for Times of Israel, Jezebel, Offbeat Families, and more.