Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Daunting Responsibilities Ahead

Lately, I have been reading many books on child development theories and ways to raise and discipline children. With the exception of What’s Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life (a book full of brain development facts by Lise Eliot, Ph.D. in neuroscience), the titles I’ve come across have mostly been different philosophies and recommendations. I have come to accept that much of our future children’s personalities will be shaped by nature rather than nurture, but I still believe that there are specific values important to us that we can try to inculcate. These values, based on accomplishments and mistakes we have made in our past, will merely serve as guidelines to help our children achieve happiness. Here’s the start of a brainstorm list.
  1. Appreciate history and culture. I believe understanding the history of both the United States and China will help you possess a stronger sense of who you are, as you are both American and Chinese and should be proud to be both.

  2. Having a successful life does not mean having a big, regular paycheck, BUT you should be able to make enough money to sustain your costs of living.

  3. Understand personal finance.
    • Do not ever get comfortable with the idea of debt, not even for a tax-deductible mortgage.
    • Save money. It’s not how much money you make, but how much you end up saving and investing that will determine your net worth.
    • Spend money wisely. Things and gadgets may be cool, but experiences are usually more meaningful. Things can end up owning you.
    • Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Wanting things that other people have can get you into a lot of trouble.

  4. Be a responsible citizen. Understand what’s going on around you and try to contribute to your community.

  5. Have a wide range of interests. People often like to put you into a category, and if you believe what people say, you may start living a stereotype. You can be a nerd and a jock at the same time. You should be able to enjoy a Red Sox game and the Museum of Fine Arts on the same day. You will never be bored or boring if you have a wide range of interests.

  6. Value family and friends. Family members and friends may not always agree with you or tell you what you want to hear, and they may get on your nerves sometimes. But relationships always take work, and you need to remember good times and bad. Writing off people is not a good way to deal with a relationship, unless the person you are dealing with is clearly not trying and you have done your best at making it work.

  7. Think independently and critically. Don’t always believe what they tell you in the news. Think about why something is happening. Don’t be manipulated into thinking a certain way by the media.