Do you remember learning how to ride a bike? Maybe one parent was holding onto the seat and helping you find your balance before sending you off down the street while your other parent was excitedly holding a camera trying to capture the moment perfectly on video. Learning how to drive was probably a much more stressful experience, but it might have been similar in the way that at least one parent was there, sitting in the passenger seat clinging to the door handle and praying you would make it to your destination safely while holding more tension in their body than you even thought possible.

Our parents are responsible for teaching us countless things, from how to read to how to be a good friend. To celebrate all of the best things wonderful parents have taught us, we found a post on Reddit asking, “Adults, what’s something your parents did right raising you?” and combed through the comments to find the most heartwarming replies. Below, you can read all about the best life lessons and pieces of advice parents have bestowed upon their kids, as well as an interview with mother and blogger Priya Doshi, and hopefully they’ll help you reminisce on some positive memories from your own childhood. Be sure to upvote the responses you find most meaningful, and then let us know in the comments what the best thing your parents ever taught you was. Then if you’re interested in reading another Bored Panda list celebrating wholesome parenting moments, we’ve got the perfect piece right here.

#1

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them I’m a female with a single father. He has never expected anything of me. Did everything to give me what i needed and wanted. But most importantly he taught me how to do basic things that “a man should do” such as change my cars oil, or the tire, and overall mechanics. My father has also excepted anything and everything I could have gone through phase wise. Dye my blonde hair red? Great! Thick makeup. Cool. Wanting to drink. Tell me where when with who and keep your phone on if you need a ride (of course this is after I was at least 15/16). Most important I was able to talk to my dad about absolutely anything without fear of anger judgment or anything of the sort. I can proudly say I hardly drink never smoke moved out when I was ready and am living a great life. I still have a close relationship with my father and he is still my hero.

Deja_kitten , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Dana Ondráčková
Community Member
3 months ago

Same with daddy girl in this way. He taught me so much handywork around the house, I can always count on him asking even stupid questions as he depends on me understanding english And helping with pc or Phone.

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We reached out to Priya Doshi, mother and creator of the blog How To Be A Positive Parent, to hear what the best thing her parents instilled in her was. "My late father encouraged me to be self-reliant. He also taught me to have self-belief. He would always say to me that it is okay to lose belief in others but never lose belief in yourself," Priya shared. "My mother has taught me to have faith in the universe. Faith can move mountains and also provide consolation in tough times."

We also asked Priya why it's important for parents to make an effort to teach their children, rather than just letting them figure things out on their own. "Parents are powerful role models for their children. So parents are in the best position to teach their children," Priya explained. "If kids are left to learn things on their own, there is no guarantee that they will learn them or by the time they figure things out, they might be in their adulthood and unwilling to change themselves. Children are the future and therefore the future hinges on what their parents have taught them."

#2

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them My parents always taught me to be affectionate. Kinda weird. But my dad always told me that even though you’re a guy, don’t be like the regular guy that acts all tough and contain everything in.

You will be okay if you cry, if you hug, and if you express your love for your buds. Don’t be afraid to express your emotion & affection especially to those who care for you.

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Bender Bending Rodríguez
Community Member
3 months ago

This should be on #1. This is so important for kids especially boys. We were always told and expected to never show emotions and feelings. Things keep bottling up and eventually festers in to toxic masculinity. If we want to minimize (lets face it, its never going away) toxic masculinity, we need to encourage boys to show more emotions and embrace their feelings.

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Next, we asked Priya what the most important things are that she wants her children to learn from her. "I want my kids to learn to be self-reliant and resilient like me. I want them to have faith that the universe will always look after them, just like I do," she said. Lastly, Priya wanted to add that, "A parent can make or break a child’s life. It is a position of power and privilege and should be used wisely."

If you're interested in more words of wisdom from Priya, be sure to check out her blog How To Be A Positive Parent right here.

#3

Good manners.

Just basic stuff like "please", "thank you", "you're welcome", etc.

As an adult, I'm honestly shocked by how frequently I see other adults that have terrible manners. "Give me this", "I'll take that", "I want that". Or after a waiter drops off a check and tells them to have a nice day they reply with "yeah" or "sure".

The f**k?

I straight up judge other adults on this stuff. Get your f*****g life together and stop interacting with people like a knuckle dragging neanderthal.

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Elliot Fowler
Community Member
3 months ago

Comparing these people to Neanderthals is an insult to Neanderthals

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All parents know that they signed up to be feeding, clothing, housing and loving their children, but there is so much more that goes into raising compassionate, curious, ambitious individuals. Not every parent has the luxury of spending plenty of “quantity time” with their kids, as working demanding jobs to provide for the family is unfortunately a common position for moms and dads to find themselves in, but not every lesson has to be a formal discussion. Some beliefs and ideas are instilled in children just by observation. After all, actions do speak louder than words.   

In fact, observational learning is a common way for all people to learn, especially kids. According to psychologist Albert Bandura, humans are “naturally inclined to engage in observational learning”, and most of us begin imitating behaviors and actions we see when we’re only two years old. In his book Social Learning Theory, Bandura wrote that, “Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions, this coded information serves as a guide for action."

#4

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them they made drugs and alcohol seem like they weren’t a big deal, they offered wine with dinner, and they held their promises when they said they’d pick me up from a party no questions asked. they made it seem like it wasn’t a forbidden fruit so i never had the urge to abuse it or sneak around. i’ve never had a problem with it thanks to them, i have healthy boundaries

PM_ME_UR_FROST_TROLL , Tembela Bohle Report

Minath
Community Member
3 months ago

I did the same with my daughter. She did a bit of experimenting for a year or two and had a bit of fun every now and then. Now she doesn't do any drugs or drink.

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People are constantly learning by example, especially children who want to understand everything about the world, like their parents appear to. Bandura noted in his theory that there are even certain factors that make us more likely to observe and imitate someone else’s behavior. Among the people we are more inclined to mimic are: individuals we view as warm or nurturing, people who are rewarded for their behavior, people in authoritative positions, people who we share similarities with (age, sex, interests, etc), and people we admire or who have a high status in society. 

We also are more likely to imitate a certain behavior when we have seen rewards for imitating the same actions in the past, when we are lacking confidence in our own abilities or knowledge, and when we are in a confusing or unfamiliar situation. We look around for answers of how to act or behave, and our instincts take over. This puts parents in a unique position where they can teach their children anything they want, but they also have the pressure of essentially being constantly observed.  

#5

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them I remember being told it was very important to admit when you're wrong, and I think that was solid advice. But I could be wrong.

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David Woollands
Community Member
3 months ago

I agree - admit it if you’ve cocked up - but I’ll be damned if I’m admitting to something I haven’t done!!

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#6

They sat us down with them when they paid the bills every month. We started out thinking we had a ton of money ("let's buy X!"), then watching as the paycheck money dwindled as bills were paid. We'd inevitably finish paying bills and think we still had a lot, then Dad would say "you want to eat this month, don't you?" and put aside money for groceries.

It was so useful because we learned how much things actually cost, how to put money away for items you couldn't yet buy (like groceries), and how to save for specific things like retirement and a new roof for the house. It also got us to stop asking for money since we saw that there wasn't much left over.

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Miss Frankfurter
Community Member
3 months ago

Excellent idea.

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The great thing about observational learning is that it can be a way for children to learn without having to listen. Watching a parent eat broccoli and enjoy it will probably have a much more positive effect than hearing a parent explain why kids really should be eating broccoli because it’s good for them. Most of the time, a child does not care if a food is “good for them”. In fact, that might make them less interested when something is sold that way because what they want to know is that it tastes delicious. But watching how much their parents enjoy the vegetable without hearing a lesson about getting enough fiber every day might encourage a kid to eat a few pieces the next time it’s presented at dinner. Mimicking their parents' behavior does come naturally, after all.  

#7

Something that has stayed with me forever was when my dad gave me an article from Time magazine that explained in layman's terms how our brains don't stop growing until we're in our early twenties, and one of the last parts of the brain to form is our ability to fully comprehend the consequences of our actions. We think we can, but we can't fully understand the magnitude of our decisions until later in life. I was about 15 when he gave me that article.

He went on to explain that his job, as a parent, was to sort of fill in that gap by making decisions for me that will decrease my chances of making a "bad decision." Basic stuff like curfews, picking me up from things instead of letting friends who might have been drinking drive me home.

The most important takeaway was that he wanted me to know he 100% trusted me, but there was a limit to that trust because even if I thought I was making good decisions, I didn't have all the tools yet to make the best ones.

I appreciate that, looking back on some of the dumb stuff I still managed to get away with at that age. Stuff I would NEVER do now. It was nice having a parent explain why he wanted to control some aspects of my life besides just saying "Because I said so."

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DuchessDegu
Community Member
3 months ago

That is absolutely brilliant!

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#8

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them Read me bedtime stories every night as I was growing up. It instilled in me a love of reading and I am certain it contributed to helping my brain work more betterer than people what doesn't read good.

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Kookamunga
Community Member
3 months ago

Mom used to take me to our tiny town library and I could pick out my books. I still read until I fall asleep....

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#9

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them My mom always made me try a bite of any food in front of her before she’d allow the “I don’t like it” line. Now, thanks to her, I’m willing to try any food/drink once, even if I think I won’t like it. I’m glad she did that.

dontaskmethatmoron , Rachel Claire Report

Daniel Heys
Community Member
3 months ago

Yep my mom also taught me this!

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Observational behavior can be used for many more lessons than the value of eating vegetables. Some of the replies featured on this list mention parents who were always quick to apologize or own up to their mistakes. These are powerful lessons for children to pick up on as well. By seeing a parent admit when they are wrong, these kids learned something that many full-grown adults still struggle with. Kids assume that their parents know how to appropriately respond to any situation, so by seeing examples of humility and heartfelt apologies, children understand that they should do the same. Similarly, parents who work hard and have a great work ethic will be watched by their kids. It is much more powerful to see examples of dedication and commitment to tasks, hobbies and relationships than to simply hear that you should give everything your all.  

#10

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them They taught me tolerance and acceptance. They told me they would love me no matter my religion, sexual orientation, political alliance, or profession. They taught me to accept people and love them for their character and to find people who will love me for my character.

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Jason B.
Community Member
3 months ago

Mine taught me that tollerance is not the same as acceptance. Let others live the way they want, but you don't have to think their lifestyle is right. Focus on making your life happy, let everyone else focus on theirs.

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#11

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them Family dinner every night when Dad got home. No TV and obviously no phones because it was 40 years ago. We talked about our day and laughed about stuff. Good times and very important part of my childhood.

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ADHORTATOR
Community Member
3 months ago

Same here: We always took dinner together, and so did my family in law. So we continued this with our own children...they are students now and force their roommates to do the same :-)

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#12

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them I have autism which caused a lot of issues. A psychiatrist had me diagnosed and my parents made sure I had the support I needed.

It's easy to say someone is a difficult child, but figuring out why and helping that child find a path in life that works for them, is the best thing they could ever have done for me.

Guilty_Coconut , Caleb Oquendo Report

Mistiekim
Community Member
3 months ago

The last part is so important. I’ve known people with difficult kids whom they just keep punishing over and over without ever figuring why and then helping, not just yelling.

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One of the reasons that it is so important for parents to instill valuable lessons into their children is that it is so much harder to learn when we get older. When a kid goes 18 years without ever being asked how their day was, that is likely not going to be a habit they pick up overnight. Once a young person has left the nest, there are so many new things to worry about like paying bills and maintaining adult relationships, they should not have to use that time to learn how to process their emotions as well. When it comes to emotional availability, adults that grew up stunted in the realm of emotional intelligence can have a very hard time catching up. On the contrary, kids that grow up in households where emotions are discussed and validated tend to become much more empathetic adults.  

#13

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them You can do whatever you want but you are responsible for your choices.

Arriabella , cottonbro Report

Icy_Question_4977
Community Member
3 months ago

That is just so true

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#14

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them My mom instilled a deep sense of empathy in me and compassion for those less fortunate than myself

poornose , Engin Akyurt Report

Ambry Petersen
Community Member
2 months ago

Extremely important thing to have.

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#15

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them They made sure I understood money, money management, saving for retirement, etc. Made my life so much easier have never had to worry about money or debt a day in my life.

FlameFrenzy , Kuncheek Report

Miss Frankfurter
Community Member
3 months ago

I wish mine had. I’d probably be in a better financial situation right now. But they weren’t really good with it either.

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Raising an empathetic person is the goal of every parent right? It may not always be at the top of the priority list, but nobody wants a child who has no regard for the feelings of others. (Unless you’re a supervillain trying to raise your successor…) To help parents understand how to foster empathy in their little ones, mother and author of the book The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World Katie Hurley wrote a piece for Positive Parenting Solutions outlining her best tips. Number one being validating a range of emotions. “If kids are to care about the feelings of others, they need to achieve self-awareness of their own feelings,” Katie writes. Making it a habit to ask your kids how they are feeling and assuring them that you understand can go a long way. Kids need to have names for their emotions and know that it is healthy to take time to feel a wide range of emotions, rather than trying to conceal anything or shut down. When they feel safe to share with their parents, they will learn how to make others feel safe to open up to them too.

#16

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them They respected our privacy. Always knocked on our doors, never went through our computer history or looked at our phones, etc. They would ask us who we were talking to, but if they REALLY wanted to see the messages, they would ask us to show them. They showed that they cared, but they also trusted us to make the right decisions. Now, I can go and talk to my parents about anything! Our relationship is great! I'm so thankful!

hlturner , Kulbir Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
3 months ago

my wife never understood why our daughter wanted to lock her room, but I did. I gave her a key but she almost never used it

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#17

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them Always letting me know that I was loved no matter what.

Col_Walter_Tits , Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas Report

AndThenICommented
Community Member
3 months ago

This

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#18

My dad always made my brother and I take the lead. He would obviously always know what was going on and would be a few steps ahead of us. If we were in a new city, we would be in charge of working out which bus to take, or if we were cooking, we'd be reading the recipe and telling my dad what to do, etc. It's pretty simple but it meant we were pretty good at doing things ourselves and were already really independent before leaving home.

We were visiting London once and I managed to get on the tube before the doors closed, but my dad did not. I knew we where we had to change so just got off at the stop and waited for the next train with him on. I think most 8 year olds might have freaked out a bit

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Joey Marlin
Community Member
3 months ago

Love this one! I'd have been that panicking 8 year old and would have loved the confidence brought about by having the knowledge. Teach children how to think and work things out for themselves.

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Katie’s next tip is to talk about difficult subjects with kids. Don’t try to shield them from everything. It can be daunting to bring up topics like school shootings, war and racism with kids who have not seen very much injustice in the world yet, but it is important to bring up sensitive topics in a safe environment. “Talking to kids about global issues and tragic stories actually opens the door to empathic thinking,” Katie explains. “When we hide the truth, we send the message that these things don’t matter. When we engage in meaningful (and age-appropriate) conversation, we plant the seeds of empathy.”

#19

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them Supported my (then) unusual interests. I was into astronomy as a younger kid and they bought books and telescopes and drove me to/from the local astronomy club at late hours. Later (this was the 80s) they bought me a series of computers which were pretty expensive for the time and for their income. I'm grateful they supported what I was into.

Dapper_Presentation , Lucas Pezeta Report

Bgray450
Community Member
2 months ago

I joined a rock band in high school. My dad was against it (and anything else I loved) but Mom stuck up for me. She drove me to practice when I need it, bought me a couple of sweet 70's rock star outfits, and she would hand me a thermos full of hot tea with honey and lemon for my widdle throat. Thanks Mom, it was a great experience!

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#20

I know this will be buried deep in various comments, but well...

I grew up in a not so good financially family. Never starved but didn't had any luxuries too.

I remember deep in my childhood that my folks always took the change from anything they bought and put inside a piggy bank, all year long. They made sure that I saw'em putting the coins there and kept making me hype about Christmas, because the one who will choose the present was me.

I remember going to bank to change the mountain of coins into paper (looking back for me it was A LOT, but seriously it wasn't much) and go to the local toy store to buy something for me. My mother even made sure that we packed it to put on the tree and said that would be more fun to open it with the other children.

The family christmas party always happened on a house of one of our rich relatives (not direct relative, my mother was raised by another family) and the other children always got some insane presents... but none of them had the same impact mine had, at least for me.

The things is, my folks thought me, even if they didn't had the intention at that time that if I saved regularly I will get the things I want and that the value of something is not bounded for what is priced.

This concept alone make me treat money with care, make me do savings regularly, make me plan ahead for almost anything and make me put value in things that doesn't even have a price. My god looking back I kept a bottle cap in my wallet for years because it had friendship value.

Love you mom and dad.
This kept deep imprinted in me. Thanks.

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Teampandas GF
Community Member
3 months ago

That was a fabulous way of making you a good time with what was possible

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#21

My parents accept everyone as they are. Didn't matter what color your skin is. Gay, straight or something in between. Didn't matter. My parents loved and accepted all of my sister and my friends. Let some of them live with us when things got bad at home. Now we are all grown up and having children... All those kids are calling my mom and dad Grandma and Grandpa. See. Love does win.

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Bgray450
Community Member
2 months ago

It took my parents a while to accept, but they now love all their family, regardless of color or gender preference. I'm so proud of them.

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Another way to foster empathy in your kids is to display it yourself. Seems self-explanatory enough, but with today’s culture of rushing through everything, it can be easy to forget. But being mindful about exhibiting empathy in any situation can go a long way in teaching your kids. “Stay calm when you encounter a frustrating parenting moment. Take the time to process your emotions and triggers before you react to model emotional regulation to your kids,” Katie writes. “Consider their triggers before you respond in anger. Demonstrating empathy in our day-to-day lives helps kids develop an internal sense of right and wrong.” 

#22

Made sure I understood the value of empathy and just listening. Dad was a recruiter for the Army and recruits would reach back out to him because he would help them get their school life in order, help get home life in order if they needed it and refused to lie to them about the entire process. He'd drive out of his way to take them to the gym to help them get into shape and would say if they needed anything to call. He complained about it but I could see he was just happy to help people around him.

My mom was literally everyone's mom. I had a lot of friends who parents worked a lot of hours, didn't listen to their teens or just didn't care what was going on in their lives. My house more or less had an open door policy and I would come home so often to see me or my sister's friends just chilling with my mom. They just wanted a mom to listen to them and give them advice and that's what she did, always honest and always truthful. I have a few non-blood related sisters who my mom took in for a time and they always say Happy Mother's Day to her.

My sister and I took their lessons to heart, my sis is a school psych, I'm trying to become a teacher. We try and be sympathetic and listen to the people around us

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Pan.D.Mona
Community Member
3 months ago

Wish i'd had someone like that in my life aswell

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#23

Annoy people with questions, not incompetence.

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Hobby Hopper
Community Member
3 months ago

Yes! Better to ask an ignorant question than to remain ignorant!

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#24

Let me debate with them on why I wanted something/should be allowed to do something and would change their minds if I made a compelling argument.

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Jason B.
Community Member
3 months ago

I do this with my kids, it's wonderful to see their minds work and watch them negotiate for what they want. They win about 40% of the time, negotiate for a partial victory 40% of the time, and still get a solid no only 20% of the time.

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Katie goes on to write that taking action can be another way to demonstrate empathy in front of your kids. It does not need to be anything huge or time consuming, though. “Think small. Help carry groceries or rake leaves for an elderly neighbor, for example,” Katie writes. “Building community connections and providing first person help encourages kids to become change-makers.” The more often your kids see you going out of your way to help others or acknowledge their feelings, the more your children will want to do the same.  

#25

Talked to / treated me like an adult.

No curfew, no restriction of when I can use my phone or play video games or use the internet, no dedicated time for studying or revision, nothing like that. But if you don't get good results on your exams, that's your fault, and you have to deal with the consequences.

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Miss Frankfurter
Community Member
3 months ago

It’s actually a child rearing method called “Love and Logic”. Turned my nephew around very quickly. Every decision has a consequence. Determine ahead of time what they might be. He’s now fantastic at making good decisions. However, if that decision did not work out, It’s probably going to have consequences. Learn from it. And really, it’s not a big deal. Don’t just give up or mope about it. Get going and move on to something else that is a well thought out decision.

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#26

We didn’t have TV growing up. We also went to the library once a week. Because of it I developed an insatiable love of books and reading. For this I will be forever grateful.

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Ambry Petersen
Community Member
2 months ago

We love the library.

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#27

Grown Up Children Share 30 Things They Are Proud Their Parents Taught Them They instilled a good work ethic. "If you do something half-assed, you'll have to put 2 asses in to fix your f*** ups. If your name is going on it, make it your best." They also always encouraged my creativity- never told me I wasn't capable of something. They always told me I can accomplish anything I want as long as I put effort into it. My parental units are awesome.

HanginWithLucretia , Andrea Piacquadio Report

aj B
Community Member
2 months ago

Wish this was still good advice here in the greatest dystopia in the world. Unfortunately ask the bank teller about what happened when he put in his best efforts and they realized they could get a full days work in half the time out of him. His coworker warned him not to do so much and is still making a full time paycheck. Ask anyone who does put their best effort into a corporate job what their reward was and most will say "more work, less hours, less pay."

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We hope this list is reminding you of all of the great things your parents instilled in you. Whether you have kids of your own or not, remember that leading by example is a powerful thing. The next time you’re around a friend or family member’s kid, see if you can do something to be a great role model. Even a small encounter can be meaningful for them. Remember to upvote all of your favorite replies on this list, and then feel free to share in the comments what the most impactful thing your parents taught you was.  

#28

Independence.. no helicopter parenting here, just had certain expectations of me and allowed me the freedom to meet them without coddling.

Follow up: integrity. We do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. Dont pay attention to what so-and-so is doing, focus on yourself and your own conscience

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Marilyn Russell
Community Member
2 months ago

We were left to our own devices a lot as kids and we’re free range.

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#29

Taught me the importance of quality duct tape.

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BadCat
Community Member
3 months ago

LOL Is this a Red Green reference?

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#30

They treated me like an adult - never belittled what I was feeling or what was meaningful to me, and explained practicalities of life when need be. "Because I said so" was NOT a common phrase. Also, they were the most supportive parents anyone could ask for, and they had the time to get involved with the things I did - my dad taught me scientific wonder and mentored my robotics team, my mom volunteered for all my theatre and music stuff while simultaneously serving on school boards, PTOs, Friends of Music, curriculum committees, and about a hundred other things. They are just incredible people.

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Duane Ringlein
Community Member
2 months ago

A few good, but also a lot bad. My Dad was an example of working hard, while my Mom was a stay at home Mom, that made sure everyone had their own tasks to accomplish in the home. But as I got older (am now 70) I finally figured out my Dad was a closet racist, and when I got married, that my Mom was very controlling. This led me to always be open to my daughter, allowing her to embrace everyone, and never interfere in her life.

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