Because we're homeschooling our younger daughter this year, I spend a lot of time focused on teaching her the things she needs to know to be successful in fifth grade. As I put together lessons and activities, I make sure to cover the things that she will need to know to move on to sixth grade.
As I put together those lessons, I've been thinking about the things that my kids need to know to be successful in life. Because as important as it is that my daughter be ready for sixth grade, it's more important that she be ready for life. It's more important that she be ready to fulfill her purpose in God's plan. And that doesn't just happen.
Our kids need us to teach them the things they need to know to be successful in life even more than they need us to teach them reading, writing and arithmetic. So, here's what I think our kids need to know.
What Our Kids Need to Know
1. Our kids need to know that they are loved. They need to know that we love them and God loves them. There is nothing more important for them to know. God's love and our love are the foundation for everything in this life. When things get tough, love is the thing that will see them through.
2. Our kids need to know that perseverance matters. Our natural inclination is to walk away from something when it's difficult, but sometimes, life requires that we stick with it. Our kids need us to push them to persevere. They need to know that sticking with something even when it's hard is worth it.
3. Our kids need to know they have a purpose. God designed each of us with a purpose in His plan. He gave us gifts and talents that fit that role. There is no greater sense of fulfillment than when we are living out God's purpose for us.
4. Our kids need to know it's OK to be different. We aren't called to fit into this world. God called us to be set apart for Him. That means we're going to act differently than those who don't know Jesus. And that's OK.
5. Our kids need to know how to stand up for what's right. And they need to know how to do it in a loving manner. Standing firm is important when it comes to right and wrong. But standing firm in a respectful, loving way is what sets us apart from the rest of the world.
6. Our kids need to know how to be a good friend. Loyalty and kindness are undervalued qualities today, but they are still important to God. The only way our kids can learn to be a good friend to others is if we teach them and model it for them.
7. Our kids need to know how to admit they are wrong. We all want to be right, but none of us are right all the time. Our kids need to know how to graciously accept responsibility for a mistake. They need to be willing to admit when they are wrong and make amends if their mistake hurt someone else. "I'm sorry" is one of the most powerful phrases. Our kids need to know how to use it.
8. Our kids need to know how to keep money in perspective. Money is a valuable resource. We need to teach our kids to handle it well, but our kids need to know that money is simply a tool that allows us to further God's kingdom. It should never be the driving force in our lives.
9. Our kids need to know how to put others first. Selflessness is not a natural inclination. It's something that has to be taught.
10. Our kids need to know that it's important to try new things. If we never ask our kids to step out in faith that they can do something new, then they will never learn to take that first step of faith when God asks them to do something they never expected.
Teaching our kids the information they need to be successful in school is important. But teaching them things they need to know to be successful in life should be the focus of our parenting.