What we leave behind

If you were going to have children (or maybe already have), and could leave behind 5 moral standards/lessons/principles for them, if you were able to really make them grasp 5 concepts and actually mind them for the rest of their lives, what would you do your best to teach them about?

Compassion, faith, self-confidence, respect, ethics, kindness, generosity, diligence, honesty, patience, calm, tolerance, loyalty, courage, humility, empathy, love, ambition, responsibility, dedication, autonomy, independence, considerateness, courtesy, endurance, simplicity, friendship, the importance of dreams, the constant need to study and self-improvement, aspiring to become the best person you can possibly be, the destructive power of jealousy, the need to share, to do no harm, to treat others as you would like to be treated…? Self-control, persistence, benevolence, moderation, effort, peacefulness, character, having an open mind?

I’m not really eager to having children, even though I love them. When I stop to think about it, I feel so far from what, in my opinion, a parent should be. If I’m to add a small, defenseless human being in this world, I think the least I should be able to do is protect her. I should also provide for her until she can look after herself, and that also means teaching her how to survive, which things to avoid, the difference between right and wrong, but, more importantly, why there is a difference. I would also feel it’s my responsibility, since I decided to create this form of life, to make it understand that it’s not alone in the world, and that means learning to share it not only with other people but with other living forms, bothering her environment the least she can.

In the end, it may not matter how much effort you put into it, all your words may prove indifferent to her. I guess parents can only teach and guide so much – a lot depends on the child’s personality.

But, if one day I’m to have children, I would feel fulfilled if, after I’m gone, they carried with them these 5 things:

  1. Considerateness – from parking in the middle of the supermarket aisle to take your sweet time choosing your sauce, to running to get that cab before the other guy, to raising a building that will hog that beautiful view, the world would be a much better place if people stopped for just a second to think about others.
  2. Tolerance – just because you don’t think/feel so, doesn’t mean other people don’t as well.
  3. Kindness – what good does it do you to wish others to share your misfortunes? Try to listen, share, spare a bit of your time, lend a hand, forgive, see the qualities in people and avoid talking bad about anyone, especially when they’re not there.
  4. Ethics – do the ends always justify the means? If no one will ever know, is it enough? If something bad were to happen, did you really do your best to avoid it? If everyone is doing it, does it make it okay? If it’s forbidden/allowed by law, is that really right?
  5. Dedication – work hard, instead of coveting what others have. Take pleasure in doing even simple things well.

I think that if you have children, they are certainly the most important legacy you will leave this world.

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~ by 1cellinthesea on October 4, 2011.

One Response to “What we leave behind”

  1. […] I try to meditate while the kid is doing a Karate strike on my other kid, I’m still really insecure about this matter. When she said that, it kind of made me feel more at ease about being responsible for another life […]

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