16 March 2015

The Big 5 Life Lessons.

The other day my eldest son and I were grocery shopping when he picked up a packet of well known biscuits cakes, perused the back for a good while then popped it back on the shelf.

'You won't believe what's in them, Mum!' he cried, proceeding to reel off some of the more decipherable details.  And we decided to opt for a (decent) bar of chocolate instead.

This was one of my most proud parenting moments ever, because, without a fuss or any coercion he had taken an intelligent decision about what, or, more importantly, what not to eat and I felt it would stand him in good stead for the rest of his life.

So when my friend Michelle from Mummy From The Heart tagged me in a meme she has begun - the Big 5 Life Lessons we want to teach our children, this would be one of them - and here are my others too.

1)  Read the Ingredients.  From when our children are very young - even before they can speak - it's good to start brainwashing!  When they were tiny and pointed to sweets in a supermarket, I would shake my head and say they were full of sugar and chemicals and suggest a mango or some berries instead.  Years later, we still have the same conversation, but now they know to read the labels on the back and don't argue.  They have some, of course - party bags are always jammed with them and they often get given packets of sweets, so they haven't gone without, but I always encourage (decent) chocolate or fruit.  And don't get me started on ready meals - suffice to say that the more is done to a food, the less nutritional value it has and this will be in my kids DNA long before they leave home.  

2)  Believe in Yourself.  Oh how I wish I'd been brought up to have more faith in myself, what I'm feeling and thinking and being drawn to do.  It would have saved an awful lot of heartache and people pleasing.  Although we have to give and take, to have a core belief in who we are and who we want to be can be crucial to our own happiness.  Being true to yourself is one of the hardest things to do in life, but it's where the magic happens.

3)  Go with the Flow.  This isn't an easy one for the children.  When a plan falls through they can be devastated, but I like to open their hearts and minds to the idea that perhaps it's for a good reason and something better is going to happen.  When one of their friends fell ill recently and couldn't meet up as we'd arranged, we ended up dropping by someone else's with newspapers we had been collecting for their few week old puppies and having lots of cuddles and a long play with all six of the little darlings.  This was incredibly special and never would have occurred in our original schedule for the day.  It proved my point spectacularly and I suspect it might yet have some mileage when faced with inevitable disappointments in the future!

4)  Keep Learning.  There's an old adage that we learn something new every day and never has anything been more true.  The lightning speed of technology and how quickly things change is something to behold.  It's not always easy to keep up, but no-one wants to be left behind.  I studied Chemistry and Nutrition in my thirties, Journalism plus parenting manuals in my forties and Digital / Social Media is where it's at for my fifties!  I haven't ruled out taking a degree yet, because it's never too late to learn.  It keeps life interesting and our desires change as we get older, so don't be ashamed - go for it!  Travel, too, provides massive scope for opening one's mind.

5)  Pick Someone Out of Your League.  When it comes to picking a life partner, I say go for a good person and you do the choosing.  No-one is actually out of your league - but aim for someone you consider just might be and surprise yourself.  You deserve the very best.

So they're my #Big5 Life Lessons.  I've been thinking about Mich's, plus everything else she said even just introducing them (!) and am looking forward to reading everyone else's.  Anyone can join in but I am tagging the lovely Izzie from The World According to Izzie, because her twin daughters are now grown up and she's bound to have some top tips by now,  my amazingly clever friend Tania from Larger Family, because she now has 13 children and must be able to teach us a thing or two and another of my favourite bloggers lately - Nikki from Stressy Mummy.

Plus Paul, Andrea and Donna want to add theirs to the mix!

What would you add?

Big5Meme at Mummy from the Heart