Life BALANCE is one of THEE most challenging issues we all face. Do we work too much? Always stressed about money? Forget about ourselves? Our faith? Our priorities? Life is moving full speed ahead and if we’re not aware and intentional about our actions, we will become incredibly unbalanced and unhappy people.
Don’t you wish that you would have learned how to balance life a bit better when you were younger? Don’t you wish someone would have TAUGHT you about The Balanced 7?
It’s no incredible revealing that we have adult habits today that were created and developed when we were kids. Just think of how well-adjusted we would be if those habits were all GOOD and HEALTHY and BALANCED!
Well, it’s too late for you.
Just kidding. Well, kind of. It’s never too late to be better, to keep striving, to change. But it IS a lot more work and probably quite painful at times.
It’s our CHILDREN that can learn how to live balanced lives NOW.
You can help!
I believe one of the best things we can do for our children is to communicate with them. Speak to them in a language they can understand. Talk to them about the importance of balance. AND THEN MODEL. Kids learn best when we shut up and put up, so here are some (very) basic guidelines to keep in mind as you’re talking and DOING.
- CAREER: Start talking to your kids now about their PASSIONS. Teach them how to recognize their special gifts and talents and how to be confident in who they were created to be. Instill in them the importance of hard work and the rewards that come from doing work that really makes a difference. Then, of course, SHOW them a positive example of someone who loves what they do! (Keep in mind, this can be work in or outside of the home!) If our children are raised with that one-two punch, they will grow up to be hard-working, successfully fulfilled individuals!
- FAMILY: Talk to them about the importance of family and spending quality time together. Often these days, that looks like saying NO to a lot of extracurriculars. It might seem painful to them to have to miss out on something all their friends are doing, but if you have a designated family day each week or month, that will be ingrained in them forever. They will remember how important it was to you to set aside time for family and therefore make that a priority in their life as they get older. Make family time fun, meaningful, and a regular PRIORITY, and you will make memories AND a solid foundation for your child.
- FINANCIAL: Ahh, we could talk about this one for days, but I think the most important thing to note here is to not treat money like a dirty word. BE OPEN with your kids about money and how you use it. Of course, age appropriateness is imperative, but treat it as though it is an important (and non-scary) part of life, and they will, too! Get them involved in financial issues with things such as determining the grocery list (with a budget in mind), doing certain chores for payment (Some call this allowance, Dave Ramsey calls it commission, which I love!) or learning how to balance a checkbook. If they can be hands-on with money at a young age, and are gradually given more responsibility as they can handle it, imagine how that translates into peaceful adulthood!
- PERSONAL: Guess what! Kids need their own time, too! They need time to play, dream, think, and BE- whatever that looks like for them! It is important as adults to give them permission to do so. If they are made to feel guilty every time they sit down to relax, they will remember that when they feeling trapped in a 70-hour a week career. This one is also HUGE to model. Children need to see their parents take time for themselves. They need to observe you enjoying life, stepping away, and RELAXING. We all know what this does for our own personal happiness and it should come as no surprise that our kids will reap the benefits in countless ways.
- PHYSICAL: Oh how tough this one is! A healthy diet and an active lifestyle is SO important to teach kids early on. Not only should you plop a healthy plate in front of them, but EDUCATE them as you do so. Teach them about nutritional content, labels, and the importance of eating natural whole foods. The trickiest part about this is to do it in a manner that is fact- not emotionally based. Don’t bring your hang-ups or struggles with food into your child’s world. Education is one thing. Threatening them with disease or obesity is quite another. This is where being an example truly shines through. Let them SEE you eat healthily. Take them WITH you as you exercise. And support and encourage them every time they choose that behavior on their own!
- SOCIAL: Kids don’t (typically) struggle with this early on in life. Even if they aren’t the class social butterfly, they usually have a few close friends they can hang out with whenever they want. Where the message gets confusing is when they watch you. Do friends go away when they become adults? Or (the other end of the spectrum) is Mommy’s best friend more important than Daddy? This is another tricky balance for us adults to find. So talk it out with your kid. Talk about the people in your life and what they mean to you. SHOW them by spending time with those individuals (EVEN if it means NOT spending time with your children for an evening!) Finally, encourage your children to establish real and lasting relationships, make them a part of your family, and support those special friendships.
- SPIRITUAL: I realize this looks different in EVERY home no matter what you profess your faith to be. I think the simplest, yet most difficult thing to master here is to PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. If you’re taking your child to church each week but live completely different, that is a recipe for a confused and angry child (and future grown-up). Keep the lines of communication SO OPEN with this issue and allow them to ask questions without feeling stupid or wrong. Allow them to question, research, and contemplate. Be there for them when they need guidance and instruction. And don’t be afraid to let them hear you do the same. If you’re doing it right, spirituality is something NONE of us ever stop growing at, and if we do, we’re doing it wrong. Let your kids be a part of your spiritual journey and encourage them as they find their own.
Balanced kids become balanced adults! If you make an intentional effort to help your children find balance in their life NOW, their future looks incredibly bright and happy. 🙂
What area of balance do you find the most difficult to teach your child?