Today’s brief foray to the market, my second departure from the house in an otherwise homebound week full of flu-like symptoms, inspired me to make a list of things I would like to teach my future children, God-willing. I wanted roast beef but the pre-packaged slices contained 22% of your daily sodium intake per serving, so I opted to buy my own pot roast and make my own low-sodium roast beef, despite the fact that my current ickiness level does not predispose me to a strong desire to cook. I wanted last-minute Halloween candy, but the bulk bags placed strategically in the middle of the store with VERY large, very bright “SALE” signs proved to be more expensive per ounce than smaller bags tucked away in the candy aisle. I do not mean at all to imply through the making of this list that I have these skills down by any stretch of the imagination, but they are things that I hope to always personally cultivate, and teach to another person, in at least some imperfect way.
So here we go. At least twenty things I would like to teach my future children:
1.) How to read food labels.
2.) How to read price tags beyond the “sale” sign.
3.) How to budget in a way that intentionally prioritizes the needs of those less fortunate.
4.) How to maximize a load of laundry or a load of dishes.
5.) How to travel light.
6.) How to take care of another living thing, be it a plant, a fish, a dog, or a person with special needs.
7.) How to refrain from habitually turning the focus of conversation onto themselves.
8.) How to wait for others to finish their sentence before interrupting.
9.) How to say to another person’s face, “It’s not ok that you did that.”
10.) How to recognize and respect social cues.
11.) How to read the Bible.
12.) How to listen to and think about perspectives radically different from their own.
13.) To think a lot about how another person would feel walking into the space they just left behind, in the bathroom, at home, at work.
14.) To greet housekeepers and maintenance staff at hotels, restaurants, etc. in the eye and say “thank you” often.
15.) To tip wait staff generously for good service.
16.) To spend at least a month in a foreign country, preferably one less developed than the United States, and preferably in living conditions equal to that of the locals for at least part of the time.
17.) That they should never expect to be exempt from unexpected suffering.
18.) That sometimes, it does matter what other people think of them, because integrity, influence and character matter.
19.) That God’s love will always be greater than any negative thought or emotion they will ever think or feel about themselves.
20.) That it is worth it to work through the hard questions about God.