Your home is where learning begins for your kids, and some of the most priceless lessons they will ever gain from you are personal values. Mom-of-three (soon to be four!) Feliz Lucas may have her hands full with handling marketing for Chestknots Wedding Photography and Little Heartbeat Urban Family Photography, as well as with managing small-scale businesses. But, she still finds simple, everyday ways to teach her kids values they can carry with them for life. So, we asked Feliz to tell us how she integrates lessons on gratitude, patience, respect, and so much more throughout her family’s day-to-day life.
Playing games and telling stories are great opportunities for learning and Feliz makes use of these activities to integrate lessons for her kids: “I use story time and playtime to make values more understandable. I create stories with hidden values and ask questions afterwards. Most of the time, I just repeat the value whenever a situation arises and I try to keep things short.”
“When my kids fight over something, I ask them to come up with a solution to resolve and restore.” She also tells them, “Your brother/sister is more important than that toy. If you’re going to fight, I will take it away and none of you can have it, unless you find a solution, forgive, and embrace each other.” Feliz makes it a point to teach her kids how valuable their relationship is as siblings. If they’re quarreling over a toy, for example, she helps her kids realize that, no matter who is right or wrong, how they care for each other as brother and sister should always be the priority. “You are important to me,” is a phrase Feliz uses with her children to remind them that family will always matter more than anything else.
For Feliz, it’s important that she makes her children feel they will never be judged for making mistakes. Still, she reminds them to always make the effort to learn from their mistakes and to understand the value of right and wrong and how their actions might affect others. “If an incident happens where I know someone is trying to hide something, I would say they can tell me and that I won’t get angry. I will be with them, but they will have to face the consequences of lying.”
“I teach [the words] ‘wait’ and ‘all done.’ I think these simple words have a lot of values which we need when we grow up [like] delayed gratification, finishing what we started, and communicating.” They are also very easy to remember and can be repeated when the situation calls for it: “Wait” can teach kids to have self-control while having fun, while “all done” can help them realize that being determined about learning a new skill or subject will be more fulfilling than quitting when it gets tough!
“Whenever they receive something, no matter how small, I ask them to practice generosity and gratitude. We use big words like these, so they practice giving to others first and [receiving prizes like candy] last.” Sharing and selflessness are values Feliz wants to instill in her kids while they are still young and a simple gesture such as sharing candy is a good way to start.
“[When my son] was learning how to ride a bike, he would get so frustrated. So, I reminded him that I [knew it was] difficult, but we don’t give up. I [also] share my life and my day’s work, how I make mistakes, and what my victories are, too.” Experience is the best teacher, as they say. Your own trials and triumphs can serve as inspiration for your kids as they grow up. Plus, who better than their own parents to be their role models, right? What we can learn from Feliz is that using our experiences–mistakes, failures, and winning moments included–may also help build character in your kids and prepare them for the challenges life may throw at them. After all, these struggles are what help us become stronger, wiser, and better people each day.