How thinking about your death can give your children a better parent today
“Memento Mori,” or translated in English, “Remember you must die.” The point of this reminder isn’t to be morbid or promote fear, but to inspire, motivate and clarify- Daily Stoic
Parents of children under the age of 10, this is going to sound morbid but hear me out.
If you found out you were going to drop dead, 24 hours after your child’s 18 birthday, how different would you do things between now and then?
How differently would you spend the next 10–12 years to prepare them for a future without you there to mentor them, guide them, pay for University and lead them to adulthood?
What kind of conversations will you have with them, now or sooner as opposed to an unspecific point in the future?
What skills and trades will you prioritize and what subjects in school would you see irrelevant in long run?
What online courses, workshops, qualifications would you have them acquire, soft skils?
We all have heard stories of families fighting over assets and leaving orphans with nothing.
How would you prepare them for venturing out into the world without your financial backing and no relative wants to pay for University?
Would they have the skillet to start an income-producing business, value-creating business or service without a degree? There is a boy younger than 10 making millions on YouTube reviewing toys. That’s, a value he’s creating for both parents to know what kids to buy and the companies who can pay him or send him free toys. I'm not saying you should exploit your kids but it's a lesson that it's not too early, there’s a strong chance he will go on to be a solid entrepreneur in his later years.
In North America and Europe, once a child turns 18 in most cases they are on their own (some parents pay for college) They are adults now and some either move out or start contributing financially to the home, they get a job and start living as an adult.
What if from the age of 8 we start introducing forms of financial intelligence to our kids? Negotiating, Budgeting and planning. We start teaching them Emotional IQ and human nature so they stop being naive, not to make them paranoid but to let them know the world is not all sunshine and rainbows.
Give them a sense of pride in being able to do things, figure things out, create value, solve, learn persistence and resilience. Give them responsibilities and hold them accountable the same way you hold a contractor.
This is mostly when they are teens between 13 and 18 but you have ingrained it into the previously.
How much more effort would you put into creating memories which they would talk about for decades after you’re gone?
How many trivial and little things they do would you let go of or handle gentler rather than unleash your disapproval or irritation on them and leave that kind of memory?
Would you start writing a journal or create “things I wish I knew when I was your age” vlogs, podcast to guide them through their 20, 30s ,40s?
Would you tell your son how to avoid foolish mistakes with women and your daughter on how to avoid mistakes with women? Money mistakes, Career, and Passion mistakes?
Now, you aren’t going to die on their 18th birthday, you will see your children’s children. But there’s no need to keep it hypothetical or keep living like you’ll always have time, the last 6 months of Covid had shown us the 2020 we thought we were gonna have on January 1st is not the 2020 we got.
Find fun ways to introduce skillsets to your kids life which can either be a hobby for character building or a source of income which doesn’t require handing out a CV or needing an insider to help them out. By the time they are 18, not only will they be far ahead of their classmates, emotionally, mentally and psychologically, they will be far ahead of some adults who never got such training.
It's easy to say, let kids be kids. But I'm certain every orphan who was thrown into a cruel world unexpectedly would wish they had been prepared for independence much earlier.