For a guide to be truly effective, it should be short and intuitive. A shorter list also makes it easier to keep in mind and actually follow through on. I can’t remember if I’ve read or heard about this somewhere but it’s something I continuously try to instill in both myself and our kids—especially in our 8-year-old.
I do this for a couple of reasons: one is to obviously make sure they grow up to be decent human beings. Two, which I think is more important, is for me to make sure I follow the rules myself. Practice what you preach, right?
1. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
It’s trivial I know but consciously saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ not only emphasizes courtesy, it also practices humility in one’s self. There’s nothing I’d love more than seeing our children act as if nothing was handed to them and that the world doesn’t owe them anything.
2. Acknowledge others
Comes as no surprise yet often brushed aside to give way to our own agendas. Children—hopefully—won’t find this difficult to follow as they haven’t fostered their huge egos just yet. It should be much easier for them to give way to others—listening with their full attention and respecting other people’s beliefs and opinions.
Adults, on the other hand, won’t be as accepting. I’ve written about this in another essay—highlighting why people are destined to argue. Humans love to be affirmed and yielding to other people’s ideas and/or opinions does not come naturally to them. Quite often, giving in comes with bitterness and judgement.
Acknowledging others not only helps us as a person but it also boosts the confidence of others. How many times have your ideas been shot even before they see the light of day? It’s quite frustrating, right? Let’s not do these to other people. Let’s instead support their ideas, watch them flourish, and be genuinely happy for them.
3. Be grateful
This third and last step is somehow related to acknowledging others. By being grateful, we accept the fact that our accomplishments are partly results of something other than our own efforts—be it luck, divine intervention, or a helping hand from someone else. It’s also being thankful for the intangibles—love, friendship, inclusion, among many others.
Being grateful forces one to think about the positive things and not focus on the negative ones. This is why I recommend listing down things you’re grateful for every night before the day ends. I do this whenever time permits and it helps me sleep very well—free from burden and full of gratitude.
The list was intended to be short and straightforward that I have managed to squeeze it in my phone’s wallpaper (which you can get here and here) for a more effective recall. My hope is that this list helps you and your family get started in living a more positively-inspired life, grateful for every second of it.
Here’s to a great 2018! Thank you for reading.