Family

The Most Important Thing You Can Teach Your Kid

Photo: Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock
mom with her child

By Shyanne Kollefrath

Raising a tiny human is exhausting, thrilling, and, most importantly, scary.

I do not have much practice in the art of raising a good member of society since my daughter is only two. But I feel our society puts so much focus on all the milestones we are told our children have to hit on time to be successful.

While I think the milestones are a great way to gauge many things, including learning disabilities and possible developmental delays, we forget the most important thing about raising these tater tots: making sure they are kind.

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There are so many ways that people feel successful about raising successful adults.

Some people measure success by how well their child does in school, while others measure it by their child’s level of popularity. Some even view success as their level of sportsmanship.

At the end of the day, though, they forget to make sure their child is kind, caring, and compassionate.

Society often views adults who are kind and compassionate as “fragile” or easy targets. To combat that, parents attempt to raise their kid to have a rough exterior to prevent them from getting hurt.

While I understand wanting to protect your child from the world and making sure they are not getting walked all over by strangers, having a kind and compassionate child is the kind of success that makes the world a better place.

These kids make sure that no one is sitting alone at lunch. They make sure that everyone around them feels cared for and loved. Their goal in life is to see everyone smile. All of these make them the best kind of person to be around.

Kind children improve the world one smile at a time. They allow others to have their voices heard and do their best to make sure everyone else succeeds as well.

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While it’s no child’s job to make sure everyone is included, having a compassionate kid can help make a difference in the lives of others.

These kids do it in many ways. Sitting next to the lonely odd child at lunch and making that child’s whole week because someone finally acknowledged their existence. Bringing extra food for lunch to make sure their classmates could eat during lunchtime.

Creating a safe space for other children to talk about the troubles going on in their lives or homes. Standing up for a kid who is being bullied.

All of these can save lives, and all of these help battle depression.

I reiterate that it’s no child’s job to save the lives of others. But with kind children, it comes naturally. The ideas and thoughts of what to do next come to them like remembering to breathe.

They don’t give it a second thought because they just know it’s the right thing to do. This is what makes kind, caring, and compassionate children successful.

They bring light to others that no one else can. Their addition to society has an everlasting effect.

So while I hope my child is happy, I also hope she is kind. I hope she helps to make a difference in other kids’ lives. I hope she feels like what she is doing is important.

Compassion goes a long way, and I hope she knows that.

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Shyanne Kollefrath is a writer whose work has appeared in Unwritten, Huffington Post, and more. Her writing focuses primarily on relationships, health and wellness, and parenting topics.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.