Life Lessons for Children: 10 Important Things I Learned from my Childhood


If there would be lessons that has made an impact in my life and somehow contributed to my core values today, those were learned during my childhood. Just like everyone else, we had experience childhood. Nobody will get to his or her age without becoming a child for once in this lifetime. I can't say that i had the perfect nonage, but neither do i had a worst one. I had a normal and pretty good share of childhood memories and experiences that i treasure a lot. And I've always been so grateful because i am blessed to have a solid family foundation- my parents who had instill good moral values when i was a child.

More than the values they've taught me, i am thankful for the life experiences that they allowed me to face, it has shaped my character and has taken me to places that i never thought i'd be. And now that i am a Mom, I'd like to pass on these values and life lessons i learned from my childhood to my offspring and to all the children and my co-parents as well.


Accountability, whether personal  or indirect responsibility, is a serious matter. For whatever behavior we possess and how we respond to certain situations, it always has consequences that we have to face. Once in my younger age, i did something wrong and i knew i will have to face it and take full responsibility. While i know my mom will always be there to back me up, my Dad didn't and that was like a worse nightmare that taught me lifetime lessons. My response to the situation held me accountable and it made me realize that as a person, you are where you are, because of who you are and what you do. Whether deliberate or unintentional we are responsible for our actions, our thoughts and our behavior.


During exams, cheaters are up-to-the-minute. I, for one, was tempted to join my group in one of the major exams and it really felt bad. I cannot forgive myself for doing that. Then, i had an encounter with my son some time ago. He loves playing chess. He asked me to play with him, then fast forward, i learned that he cheated on me while we were playing. It's like i look back for a second and he did something to my chess pieces. I felt bad, though for him it was like a joke or we were just having some fun times because i really don't know how to play chess. And then i just told him in a laughing manner that cheaters never win! Whether in school, work or life in general, the temptation to do something dishonest to get ahead may tempt us but we must always remember that cheating is a form of self-deception. In life, honestly and fairness must always prevail.


When i was in grade school, i used to call myself the underdog. I had several experiences of bullying. Not me being the bully one, but the victim rather. One of my many mistakes, i guess, for being bullied and being a laughing stuff during my school age was because i was weak. I have a terrible shyness. Like i can't just talk straight to people. When i'm in front of the class, my knees and hands are shaking and when i start talking, my eyes becomes teary. And when it comes to confrontation, i am hesitant, i am a cry baby. And so it made me so vulnerable to teasers and emotional manipulators. I don't know what came to me then, but when i was in high school, i have overcome the shyness, and was able to grow in mingling with others, i had a great number of friends and i became the bully one (not that really bully, but when someone tries to hurt me with words or actions, i always fight back and i always see to it that i will win every conversation). I learned that showing weakness to others can make you feel inferior. Your weakness can be used against you and if you put yourself in a situation that shows you are weak and not in control it will also cause those who trust you to lose faith in your abilities. Instead, take a stand, and show confidence. We must always convince ourselves that we can, we are not a looser, rather a fighter with good moral values, of course.


Good grades doesn't always guarantee a successful career in the future, nor does failing grades equates to failure and mediocrity. Grades never define a person. I remember when i was in Elementary, i never made it to the top 10, and i just have to admit that i wasn't really paying too much attention to achievements at that age. When i was in High School, i am struggling to be in Top 8 with two more classmates all at the same place and i don't mind. One of my Filipino teacher once told me, "you are smart, pero tamad ka mag-aral". On the latter part i realized the importance of having a good A-card reputation (though i never had a failing grade in my entire studies) there's just a thing for me like, i wanna enjoy schooling and i don't want to pressure myself to put my nose on books and memorize every lesson on it. Because i always believe that good grades alone wouldn't guarantee success but rather the inborn qualities of a person, strategies combined with skills, determination and the right knowledge are the stepping stones to achieving what you really want in life. I never compete academically and to this age, i am thankful that i didn't push myself too hard to be always on top. I enjoyed my journey to education while learning and making time for other things that i love doing.


Others would say failure is not an option. But for me, failure means you are being directed into another step towards success. Failures are inevitable. Life is always a struggle, and one has to stumble in life for simple reasons that we have to face many hurdles. Failures could disappoint and discourage us however, the right approach to failure doesn't have to disheartened. Instead, we should learn lessons from them. If a child didn't stumble from walking on a bumpy road or if a child didn't fall from a chair, then the child wouldn't know that the place is not safe for him or her. Likewise, in life, every time we fail we become aware of the reasons for failure, we discover our weaknesses and also our hidden powers and the experience we gain makes our path to success easier.


I thank God for having working parents, both of them have their day jobs. Me and my little sister used to be with our grandma or with our house helper because mom would go to the office early in the morning while my dad reports to his duty, which sometimes, took up to 48 hours straight. As the eldest, i learned to be independent. At Grade 3 i can cook for lunch, (not the recipe type) i can do simple frying jobs and cooking rice on the stove (no rice cooker). I wash my school uniforms on weekends and i iron them too. While i have a grandma who looks after me and my sister after school, she was also the one who taught me how to do simple household chores like the washing of clothes and the dishes. My parents, especially my mom is not strict with time and going outdoors to play. Now that i have kids i realized that we must allow our kids to explore, to play, to get messy, to stumble, to get hurt and get back on their knees once again. One has to be independent in order to survive in the world. Because at the end, you only have yourself to fall back on, so it is exceedingly important to be able to handle things on your own.


We work hard to give our children the best of everything and to shower them with the things that they don't just need, but those that they also want. Instilling the value of contentment is also very crucial. When i was a child, we don't have much, but we never experienced scarcity either. We aren't rich but everything we needed and those little things that we also want [sometimes], were fairly met by our parents. We were only two girls and we pretty had experienced quite an adequate princesses life. While there are some things that we wish we could have, when our parents would tell us we cannot afford it yet, we listen and obey and that's how we learned how to be contented. Now that i have kids, as much as i wanted to give them that much and even if we can afford it, i sometimes hold myself back and reflect on those values. We must teach our children how to be happy with the little things that they have- to focus on the things that they are already blessed with and not to focus on what others have.


Teaching fairness to young children can be accomplished by listening, modelling and setting boundaries. I remember my mom when we were young and she would prepare merienda for us. We have a small bowl of spaghetti and a half loaf of bread. While Dad was still on duty, my mom knew he'll be coming home anytime soon and would probably want to eat something after a day's work. Me and my sister were ready to eat and my mom, instead of putting the small bowl of pasta on the table with a serving spoon and the loaf of bread on spread too, she would get our plates and put adequate amount of pasta and bread as our fair share of merienda. And then there's something left for Dad too. My mom used to do this equal sharing even up to this time that sometimes i find it annoying because i am a big eater and i wanted more! At a young age i learned the value of fairness. When we are to shop for clothes, if she bought a dress for me, she needs to buy something for my sister too. And i do appreciate it today as a mom. Fairness has always been a value that we practice at home. It's one important ingredient to becoming a person of character. And i also believe that fairness and equality is also a key to living peacefully.


I could say that i grew up well-disciplined by my Dad, while with my Mom i'm a spoiled brat. But my Dad used to spoil us with treats once in a while too, but he was really more of a strict disciplinarian. I'd like to believe that his military training has something to do with how firm he was with "the law of the household" and he and my Mom would set a consistent routine that models and reinforces self-discipline. In my heart i have felt rebellion sometimes, when i couldn't understand why. But when i became a parent myself, i realized the virtue of self-discipline. And we must establish a relationship with our child while disciplining, for them to understand it. Discipline is a lifelong skill that helps children to become successful from academics, to jobs and to families of their own. Without discipline, accomplishment could be hard to achieve, while with discipline we can achieve security and success.


Childhood is the happiest time of a person's life and I will never trade my childhood experiences for anything in the world. I had a wonderful childhood in a rural community. I was allowed to play outdoors, i get messy, i get bruises a lot of times, i have plenty of playmates both young and old, i jumped into rivers and i stumbled on farm lots, i throw stones up on the trees to get fresh fruits and most of the time my nails get soiled. I fly kites with my Dad and i will never forget how he taught me to ride a single bike by pushing me towards and allowing me to fall and then cry. I believe that kids should never be deprived of their right to play and to enjoy their childhood. The commercial by McDonald's really puts a smile on my face and sometimes a teary-eye because I can see the kind of parent i wanted to be for my children and the picture of a happy child who enjoyed so much of life. 

Kids become kids only once and they don't get the same moment twice in a lifetime, neither us. Therefore we must embrace every moment of it- allow them to play as much as they can, make mistakes, learn the lessons, stumble, fall and stand and make the most of their childhood while it lasts.

How about you? Are there important and valuable life lessons you learned from your childhood that you'd like to share too? I would love to hear your story on the comments below.

Disclosure: This post was written for and sponsored by McDonald's Philippines.

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