What Can I Teach My Daughter?

Our daughter is almost five weeks old. The adrenaline rush that comes with being a new parent is wearing off and I’m thinking clearer about the journey ahead. The opportunity to shape a life is here.

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A big part of parenting is putting boundaries around choices. I’m sure she’ll head straight for the cake unless it’s off limits until after dinner. But when all is said and done, you don’t teach choices.

But I can teach her values.

I can teach her that it’s okay to fall down on her bike. That falling is the worst part, and now she’s got that over with. That now, the only thing to do is try again. I can teach her that if she keeps trying, eventually she’ll be able to ride it.

I can teach her that the first priority in the day is to take care of herself. To eat a healthy breakfast. To study. To introspect. The next priority is to create. To add something of value to the world. And as soon as that’s done, no time should be wasted from seeking adventure and uncovering all this world has to offer.

I can teach her to put herself in other’s shoes. To imagine she is on the other side of the table. To see that you have to go through someone’s lens to get to them.

I can teach her to use her compass and follow her heart—rarely do either lie. And that whenever she sees it differently than the person next to her, or than all the people in the room, or all the people in the town, then she can be sure there is someone in the next town who sees it just like her.

And once I’ve taught her all that I can teach, and she’s worked hard to become the amazing person she’ll be, I’ll encourage her to make one more choice: to express who she is in everything she does, as passionately as she can, and to see it reflect back on her as she deserves.

What other values are important to teach?