A very wise man (he knows who he is) recently answered the question “What’s the one piece of advice you would give to your children?” with this beautiful observation “Live your life according to your values”.
And I was struck by how simple and spot-on this advice felt to me, but it also made me wonder…
What should we advise our children?
So today I’m asking you- If you could pass on one rule to live by, or if you had the opportunity to write a list of advice for life to frame (and hang in the loo?!), what would you say?
I’ve pondered this a fair bit recently and I have concluded that there are, of course, the classics about 'being kind to others', 'treating them as you would wish to be treated', and 'thinking before acting'. But they don't feel quite enough to me.
I could always pick something from a favourite book or film I suppose, or quote an inspiring person like Gandhi, Mandela or Malala. But that's not very 'me' either.
I would personally try to avoid anything focused on ‘just being happy’, which feels like it might set them up to fail, as well as being a bit boring!
I also naturally lean towards encouraging them not to be afraid to try new things, learn from failure, and 'be their best not THE best', but those feel more like everyday advice, and I am drawn back to the insightful reflection at the beginning of the blog ‘Live your life according to your values’.
It is a guiding principle that I genuinely connect with, and hope I have lived by, but it could also guide my child when he is in a difficult situation, a bleak place, or at a crossroads in life.
It feels like it won’t let him down, or disappoint him, he can remain true to himself and his beliefs and ethics, maintaining his integrity whatever life brings.
So I think that’s what I will tell my son and I hope that he too will find it helpful and practical, as well as uplifting. And I might even get it framed and hang it in the loo!