A family walking in the rain with umbrellas remembering lessons learned as kids.

The Lessons We Learn as Kids

Have fun. Be safe. Respect your elders. Always do your best.

Those were the 4 big things I heard growing up. Whether going to school, outside to play, a party, to spend the night with a friend, wherever. Those 4 things were the always-instructions. I knew it was expected of me. Even the have fun part!

I was pondering what those always-instructions look like now. Whether at work or play. What have I carried with me into my adult world? And what has carried with you?

  1. Respect your elders.

I respect my elders still. The older I get, the more value I realize those with more life experience than me have to give. But I have expanded that rule to respect everyone. Respect, if it’s genuine, is usually reciprocal. So, to show respect to get respect is not genuine. That’s manipulation. Sincerely looking for the good to be respected in each person, each conversation, has its rewards, though. Whether we are looking for them or not. And in most everyone we can find something to respect. It goes a long way in building relationships that are trustworthy.

  1. Always do your best.

Yep! Don’t expect someone else to do your best for you. If you want to be your best, you must do your best. Then realize that engaging others whose “best” looks different than yours is usually a smart move for getting the best out of teams, which include families.

  1. Have fun.

I have been doing better with that the past few years. It was easy for me to get lost in a project and forget that fun is a huge part of what re-energizes me and brings me joy. Bringing more energy and joy to all we do is always a positive!

  1. Be safe.

I knew as a kid that meant look both ways before crossing the street, don’t take candy from strangers, etc… It was me staying safe. Not a bad thing. But I have come realize that being safe for others is of incredible value. Being the one who will listen, understand, support as I can. That is the kind of “be safe” I am most focused on now.

And I see ALL these things play out in my integrated life of both personal and business. Much value is deposited to myself and others by showing respect, always doing my best, having fun, and being a safe place.

What about you?
What are some rules you had growing up that you have carried with you into adulthood? I would love for you to share in the comments.

Brenda Harkins is an Author, Speaker, Mediator, and Coach specializing in Personal, Relational and Leadership Transformation. Brenda founded Harkins Leadership Group and developed the Loud Is Not A Language® communication model, helping to build collaborative communities on foundations of trust in both our business and personal worlds. Brenda’s passion for mining gold in people is shared with her love for God, family, good friends, good coffee, and west Texas sunsets. She can be reached at brenda@harkinsleadershipgroup.com.