I was looking through some old emails today and came across a request from someone who asked for some "brief advice for parents, sort of do's and don'ts." Here's what I wrote:
1. If you tell kids repeatedly that they're terrible, they'll become terrible. 2. It takes ten compliments to overcome one harsh criticism. 3. Be kind to the kid you once were. Think about it. 4. The greatest power in the world is grace. But if you can't love yourself with grace, you'll have a hard time loving your kids with grace. 5. Teach them to read widely and write well. 6. Don't try to make them into replicas of you. 7. Let them experience the power of being listened to. No one has more opportunity to do that than a parent. 8. Don't be harsh with your kids. You're breeding rebellion, or shame, or both. 9. Teach them about God, unapologetically. 10. Be authentic. Kid's, especially teens, can sniff out hypocrisy a mile away. 11. Don't try too hard to be cool. Let their friends do that. 12. If your vocabulary doesn't include cuss words, theirs likely won't either, and you'll both sound much more intelligent. 13. Pray for them till you're hoarse, then pray some more. Time will reveal the power of your prayers. Don't stop, ever. 14. Use things, love people. Don't ever reverse that. 15. Teach them what good friendships look like by modeling good friendships. 16. Be grateful. Let them hear and see gratitude. 17. Encourage them to embrace diversity. 18. Remind them that we catch more flies with honey than vinegar. 19. Teach them that if all one has is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. 20. Teach them to value opposing viewpoints. In doing so, they'll learn some very important things along the way. 21. Put others first. Humility is the key to leadership. 22. Respect authority. It's proves one's maturity. 23. Pay your bills. Save money. Always be generous. 24. When you're sorry, say so. 25. If you marry, choose someone who shares your deepest values. If you don't marry, don't spend your life apologizing for it. Have good friendships, enjoy God and live life to the fullest. One is a whole number.
I ended my note to my friend, "There you go. Hope that helps."