Parenting Blog

7 Life Lessons To Raise Good, Happy, Empathic, Kind and Organized Kids

Here are 7 life lessons to teach and behaviors to model that will produce good, happy, empathic, kind and organized kids.

life lessons to keep you clean


Every single parent has a wish list of adjectives they hope to use in describing their future grown-up children. Some of the words may change over time, as we watch our daughters and sons become adults, but we all have them.

Good and happy are two constants for me. Empathic and kind are rock solid too. May I also add ‘organized’? Would that be okay with you?

Ideally, my two daughters will have their sh*t together, externally and on the inside too. And I believe that teaching my kids the importance of cleaning and the effectiveness of clean spaces can help ensure I’m still using all those adjectives in 5, 10, and 20 years time.

There are many life lessons I try to impart, verbally as well as by simply modeling behavior, in hopes of ushering my daughters down the good, happy, empathic, kind and organized pathway. Well, more like the 5-lane highway of a solid life than a pathway, but stick with me here.

Here are 7 life lessons to teach and behaviors to model for them that I believe will produce young people who could stake claim to each and every one of those fine adjectives upon becoming fully formed adults.

1) When crossing a street, cross the damn street like you actually want to reach the other side. This may seem a minor point in the grand scheme of things, but the way you cross a street says a lot about you, specifically that you live your life with purpose (I AM GOING TO GET ACROSS THIS HERE STREET!) and that you’re cognizant of the reality that others are sharing the world with you (like that woman in the sharp two-tone Kia Soul who’s desperate for you to cross the street so she can finish her turn and get on with her day).

2) If checks are still a viable form of money movement in the future and someone gives you one to pay you for work or repay money owed you, please cash or deposit the freaking check right away.

3a) Make your bed. Make it as soon as you wake up. Repeat daily.

3b) Vacuum/sweep your bedroom floor often — not daily, that’s a bit obsessive — and then back your way out of your room and pause for a moment to admire the order you’ve created in your own personal space. Enjoy that. Revel in that. Remember how good that feels. Let your freshly-made bed and clean floor be a daily starting point to feel the lift of accomplishment. According to a recent research Clorox study, people are 80 percent more relaxed, 60 percent less stressed and 72 percent more productive in a clean room. You’ll be amazed how the rest of your day flows!

4) Travel everywhere and buy all those cute little trinkets made locally. Display them cutely, dust them occasionally, but don’t let the bricabrac overtake your space or your life.

5) People who make bucket lists rarely seem to do anything more than add things to their bucket lists. Instead: live, do, and regret little. You can always make a few more dollars, but the chances to do the thing, see the place, and attend the game or concert are fleeting.

6) If you ever find yourself with the time to complain to someone about how busy you are, you’re not as busy as you think. Stop talking about the work, start doing the work, and finish the work.

7) Keep your kitchen and bathroom clean. One is where you prepare food and eat, the other is where you spend most of your time naked. Work to have those areas free of mildew, grime, bacteria and generally gross stuff — because FOOD and NUDITY. Do the dishes as you cook and finish promptly after you eat so there’s order and cleanliness there. Wipe down the countertops, put the shampoo lid back on, do the small things constantly that will make your world a more organized, clean and livable place. You’ll find that your mind, as well as your physical living areas, will be cleaner and less cluttered, and you’ll be organized, happier, and more capable of showing empathy.

Why do I teach and model all of this to my daughters? Why do I make sure they see me making my bed every morning and working hard on the regular. Partially it’s because when a person has cleaning chores as a kid, the likelihood that they will exhibit higher empathy as adults increases by 64 percent and the likelihood that they will have higher levels of willingness to help others in the community as adults increases by 60 percent.

And I like the math of all that as much as I like a clean, germ-free home!

This post is sponsored by Clorox. The life lessons shared and opinions expressed above are honest and unbiased, as always.

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