21st Century Values for my Kids—11 Values in a COVID-19 Year.
When I thought this year about the motherload of responsibilities that arrived in the homes of so many new parents, working parents, and single parents of all different ages, it made me think about a few things.
What are the core values that I want my children to gain from this incredibly long, grief-stricken, challenging, and unforgettable year? While so many will have to process this time over several years and many will also experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the harsh realities of what they faced or experienced, I do feel there is a collective shift happening that may also leave a lasting impression and room for new ways of thinking about our daily lives.
Here are 11 major values that I want my kids to understand in their childhood and college years forward:
1. Independence. They’ll always know where their roots are, but I want to give them wings to fly. I want to continue to foster and develop my kids in a way that supports them where they are grounded but feel ready to take on the world. Not without failure or mistake, but that they can do it on their own two feet.
2. Empathy. I think this is something that all people can possess, and some more than others: it’s being in someone else’s shoes. Everyone is going to go through things in life—sometimes people have bad luck or breaks for no fault of their own. I want my kids to understand that sometimes circumstances and who you were born to factors into it, but sometimes being kind and having plain empathy helps our world too.
3. Mental health. Along the path of childhood to college, I hope that the mental health of my kids is a priority, both in school and in the workplace. We are seeing how the pandemic has impacted everyone’s mental health. I want my kids to understand that their overall mental well-being is important as they are in school, go to college, and whatever career path they choose. They should develop good coping strategies to turn to when the going gets tough.
4. Trust. I want them to trust in themselves. The path forward sometimes doesn’t present with open doors or clear answers as to what’s on the other side. I want them to build their own internal trust and compass to know that you don’t always need to know to follow your purpose or your passion. You just need to keep going.
5. Joy. It’s important to remember and foster joy. Just like the joy they had as children. To not lose sight of it. It’s important to cultivate joy in their daily life, and their joys may stay the same or they may find new ones. They should keep exploring and keep up with them. It’s best not to get too busy to come back to them—their joy and purpose are interconnected.
6. Take care of yourself. I want my kids to know that the way you take care of yourself is just as important as how you take care of and serve others. You have to keep your own life jacket on before you can serve others with love. As a young mother, I want them to know that it’s important for moms to take care of themselves too; to not overgive and overextend. Mothers—like everyone else—need time to replenish and refill. We all do.
7. Love yourself. I want my kids to feel comfortable and happy in their own skin. I want them to know that they are unique beings full of infinite ideas and creativity. They have a purpose and their light and impact on the world has no boundaries.
8. Relationships. We are all in an experience on this planet to grow and find fulfillment. Having respect, love, and companionship is a beautiful thing. Relationships ebb and flow and they evolve. They require attention and time to nurture. You can attract a person who is aligned for you, but you must respect, honor, and love yourself just as much.
9. Build a path and a career through your unique lens. I want my kids to dabble and discover things in life. I don’t want them to feel they have to take up a sport to please me. I want them to discover their unique gifts and abilities that bring them their passions and joys. I want them to find what makes them happy. They don’t need to have one career path or one that is “ingrained” in a higher salary or what is “deemed” the right thing to do. I want them to understand corporate life, entrepreneurship, a portfolio path. And lastly, a life well-lived with joy.
10. Compassion. Our lives are our own experiences. What someone feels is not always our own experience. We must have compassion for ourselves and for others—I want my kids to understand that. Not everyone receives the same deck of cards or situations. We are all here to help each other on the path—I want my kids to know that.
11. Inclusion. Whether it is in school, their jobs, or out in the world, I want my kids to embrace a world where we all can see each other in our full form and identity. Our voices in the exact tone and way we’d like to be and our true selves expressed. I want them to know that is how we see each other on this planet.
Now that I’m a new parent, I see a bit of my life and how I was raised. Now I see this collective energetic response from how our lives were turned upside down. As I see this modern-day life being flipped, I also want to see a better way forward for our next generation of humans—I think they want it too.
There doesn’t have to be a protest or a march to be a good human. It just starts with a few parents instilling values of empathy, trust, compassion, and love.
There’s hope, we’ll get there.
Check out Christine’s previous blog here: Rethinking the Working Mom Career Formula.