The most important things to teach a child

Describe for them what it is to be human
Talk to them about history, philosophy, and astronomy. Tell them about man’s evolution and his intimate connection to the animal kingdom. Above all, share the pain, the joy, the sorrow, and the ecstasy of being human.

The value of friendship
Show them how to make friends and keep them; how to differentiate true friends from unworthy friends; how to be a good friend – with honesty, thought, consideration, respect, and companionship.

The value of education
Create a joy for the act of learning and the search for enlightenment, science, and truth. Disdain ignorance and stupidity – elevate knowledge and wisdom.

Bravery and calmness in the face of adversity
Fortify them with sport and adventure. Boost their confidence in their abilities and constantly get them to stretch themselves. Praise resourcefulness, gently let them explore their world and grow into it.

Self-respect and self-confidence
You cannot teach this directly: you instil it with praise and encouragement. But beware giving praise for unworthy achievements lest they become complacent and lazy. Warn them against arrogance. Forge in them the power of solitude.

Knowing right from wrong
Teach by example. Never expect your children to not see the difference between what you do and what you preach.

How to earn it and spend it in a balanced way; how to respect and disdain it in equal measure; to understand the difference between price and value; to understand interest rates and loans and how to avoid debt; to appreciate the difference between capital and income.

Things you cannot teach children
A sense of humour
Their own life goal

Things children can teach you
Joy of the simple
The unexpected



  1. Tony D said,

    August 21, 2007 at 3:45 am

    Little Brats!

  2. Susan said,

    August 23, 2007 at 11:14 am

    My mother always knew you had a child out there somewhere.

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