Generation Cedar

10 Things to Teach Your Children Before They Leave Home


  1. Self-control. It starts when a baby is just months old–opportunities to gently remind her that even though you like her a lot, she is not the center of the universe, never will be, and doesn’t need to aspire to be.ย  This spans from controlling the physical passions of a baby throwing food off a high chair to sexual urges as an adolescent, and continues into areas of finance (you must pay for what you want), handling disappointments and dealing with the difficulties of life.
  2. “School” is not the goal — learning is, and that is never over.
  3. Good books are essential for growth.
  4. Be honest, no matter what.
  5. Be diligent, no matter how small the job.
  6. Forgive others.ย  Never hold a grudge, especially against those who have asked your forgiveness.
  7. People are more important than things–live like it.
  8. Listen to people when they talk.
  9. Be courteous and remember your manners everywhere you go.ย  (Courtesy is a stamp of excellence and a ticket to success.)
  10. Believe God enough to do what He says, even when it doesn’t make sense or it’s not the popular choice.

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33 Responses

  1. How about, “Don’t allow others to hurt you, demean you, or be cruel to you. Walk away from relationships like that.” An important lesson, especially for women.

    1. How do you love your enemy if you walk away from relationships like that? I don’t see this concept in scripture. Jesus certainly didn’t walk away from his persecutors. Instead, he died for them.

    2. More appropriately, J, we teach our girls to avoid relationships like these in the first place.
      “A companion of fools suffers harm; but he who walks with the wise will be wise.”
      “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”
      “Light has no fellowship with the darkness.”

      1. I understand not being a companion to fools or being unequally yoked, but “not allowing others to hurt you” is impossible. There will be many who will hate us and demean us when we share the gospel with them in love. Many who are lost will hurt us and say cruel things to us. They are the ones who need our prayers and our selfless love. To walk away from them is not to imitate Christ. I’m not talking about being their best friend, but we are called to love those who hate us and bless those who curse us.

        1. I agree, Ginger. J has another agenda readers don’t see because I usually delete her comments. That’s what I was answering. Her comment was a knock against my belief in submission in marriage.

        2. Ginger, there’s no reason whatsoever to stay in an abusive relationship! That’s not what spreading the Gospel means.

          1. “They are the ones who need our prayers and our selfless love. To walk away from them is not to imitate Christ. Iโ€™m not talking about being their best friend, but we are called to love those who hate us and bless those who curse us”

            Agreed, thanks for clarifying.

  2. โ€œSchoolโ€ is not the goalโ€“learning is, and that is never over.

    There’s a typo here and I can’t figure out what it was supposed to say. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. This one took me a minute, too. I couldn’t figure out the ‘goal-learning’ part. See if this helps:
      “School is not the goal — learning is; and that is never over.”

  3. Great list. I’m sure we could all add a few more based on personal experience, but I think you got to the core essentials.

  4. Great stuff, AGAIN, Kelly. ๐Ÿ™‚
    BTW, congratulations on #9! So happy for you all, and I’m praying for Mama and Baby.
    Blessed Mama to six here, so far…

  5. Big fan of #1, 5 and 10.

    #5 could be expanded to remind others that diligence in any job undertaken is valuable. My generation (I’m 31) has been so brought down by the “Office Space” mentality; work stinks, so stick it to the man.

    It’s been a challenge to instill this in my children when I and my husband grew up with awful work ethic. We still struggle with diligence!

  6. Re: #1 – How would you communicate to a 5 month-old who has just figured out how to make a painful screech that you’d rather he didn’t make that sound? He doesn’t generally do it in a tantrum kind of way – usually just because he likes the sound of his own voice, especially in echo-y places, like the concrete, high-ceilinged Old Navy dressing rooms! A stern no and puff of air in his face to startle him get his attention, but I don’t think he’s equating action and consequence!

    1. Lisa – My 5 mo. old has started doing the same thing! What happened to the sweet, calm, adorable coos of the past few months? She is more thrilled now to hear just how loud she can be. I know it will pass, as she begins to find other ways of communicating and getting attention, and right now it cracks me up how proud she is to discover how her little body works. This morning, she screeched so loudly, she startled herself, and I laughed to tears!

      1. Haha! Well, I’m glad to know I’m not alone in the land of screeching infants! And thanks for reminding me that it IS funny…except when it’s annoying. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. Lisa,

      Our 1-year-old screams for food. While I realize it’s the only way she knows right now of “saying” what she wants, nevertheless, we recognize it’s something she needs help with as we replace the undesirable method with a better one.

      For us, it’s just consistency and an effort to not reward the behavior we’re trying to change. So when she squeals at the table because she at her last bite of food, I look at her in the face and in a very low voice say, “Ellia, no.” I get another bite and as I offer it to her I say, “More please?” Over and over ๐Ÿ˜‰ If she squeals before I get it to her mouth, I retreat, tell her no again, and wait to offer the bite.

      1. That sounds like a lot of unnecessary work. Why not wait a year, when she has more maturity and self control, and explain that she gets no food unless she acts nicely? Then follow through.

        That’s what I did, and ended up with two very well-behaved kids.

        I’ve noticed that new parents often kill themselves worrying and fixing things that shouldn’t be addressed till the child can understand. For example, potty training at age one involves a lot of parental work, and usually little success. Potty training at 2.5-3 is a breeze–usually takes a few days.

        Take all that effort and use it to read your child a book instead!

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