Perhaps you’ve been to Walmart and heard a Walmart mom yelling at a child. Don’t judge if you don’t currently have children. Because even if you had children in the past, you can’t appreciate the pressures that parents now face.
But we can criticize the stereotype to show a principle. Often, the Walmart mom is scolding her children, not because they did something wrong, but because they did something irritating. They ask questions, express feelings of hunger, or sneeze.
Perfect parents, by contrast, focus on the big picture rather than on preventing annoyance.
When I was a young father, I created a list of 20 takeaways my children needed to gain before leaving home. Rather than focusing on their hair length was or on a particular geography test score, I focused on The List.
The list is private, but here is a list of 10 things I believe parents should teach.
how to use a public restroom without contracting a communicable disease.
how to laugh at yourself but not at others.
good etiquette—poise and confidence and good manners.
basic healthy communication skills.
to not be lazy.
to not be a punk: help others, especially vulnerable people and respect old people.
a marketable skill.
a sense of responsibility for the outcome of your life.
the habit of thrift, and respect for personal property.
to be courageous when you want to be silent or change the subject.
Focus on essentials.
Don’t have kids? Can you spare a moment to help the village raise the child?
Please share these lessons with kids you know, because their parents are completely overwhelmed by looking for lost shoes and feeding balanced meals.
What is the MOST IMPORTANT lesson your parents taught YOU?